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Your weekend arts forecast: Saturday ArtWalk, Dali Lives – at last

Bill DeYoung



Art by Fred "Rootman" Woods; the exhibition "Unspoken Words" opens Saturday during the Second Saturday ArtWalk.

The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s monthly ArtWalk – with 20 trolley stops, 40 studios and galleries and more than 200 artists welcoming visitors – is here once again. The Second Saturday ArtWalk (yes, it’s this Saturday, May 11) is the very best way to get a one-stop-shopping look at the city’s vibrant and ever-expanding artist community.

The free event happens from 5 to 9 p.m. Free parking can be found on 1st Ave N. and 1st Ave S. from 15th to 30th streets, at the Clay Center of St. Petersburg, at MGA Studios and the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum.

Even better for these warm pre-summer evenings, the Arts Alliance provides free trolley service – roaming the EDGE, Central, Grand Central and Warehouse Arts Districts. The city’s free Downtown Looper Trolley can shuttle you to the Waterfront Arts District.

The trolley runs continuously; you can hop on or hop off at your pleasure. Here’s the official map with the routes and everything else you need to make it all work.

Fred Woods

Oils artist Fred Woods, who goes by the nom de brush Rootman, has an exhibition opening Saturday in the Tully-Levine Gallery at the Arts Xchange – that’s in the main Warehouse Arts District building, at 515 22nd St. S.

A native of Bradford County, Florida (between Gainesville and Jacksonville), Woods/Rootman has called St. Pete home for four years (he retired after three decades with Shands Hospital). His show of abstracts and realism is called Unspoken Words; with it, he’s exploring subjectivity in art. Hanging next to each painting is a note or a story by someone, sharing their thoughts on the piece in question. The commentators come from all walks of local life.

“I call my artwork Art For the Soul,” explains Woods . “All my paintings have a story, and because a lot of them have to deal with situations – not always mine – or things I’ve seen or whatever, I thought it would be really cool to get other people’s perspective of my paintings. Just to see what other people are thinking.”

He’ll be there at the gallery during ArtWalk Saturday, so guests can offer their own interpretations.

And on Sunday, May 19, he’ll host a coffee talk at the Arts Xchange, from 2 to 4 p.m. “One of my friends is a singer,” he says, “and she actually wrote a song about the painting she did. And so she’ll be performing that on the 19th.

“I just wanted to bring in the fact that I think art definitely has a language of its own, and it speaks to people in different ways. True art can pull that out of a person.”

Craftsman House Gallery and Pottery Studio opens its 13th annual Invitational Teapot Show Saturday, with “more than 40 dozen” (that’s a lot) handmade functional teapots from ceramic artisans across the US of A. The reception takes place 5-9 p.m., during ArtWalk.

Jeremiah Jacobs and Timothy Soluna, students in the Duncan McClellan Glass studio residency program, open an exhibition, Dichotomies, with a reception Saturday at the DMG studio; it’s from 5 to 6 p.m. and includes an artists’ discussion. A glass-blowing demo is planned for the 6:15-8 p.m. vicinity (with “molten glass juggling,” according to McClellan) and the Henry Ashwood Jazz Project plays afterwards, until 9:30. It’s all free and there will be a cash bar.


Dali Lives

Saturday will also see the long-talked-about debut of Dali Lives, the application of AI (artificial intelligence) to bring the long-dead Salvador Dali back to “life” at the St. Petersburg Museum that bears his name. A series of big interactive screens, installed at different spots inside the museum, will give us a life-sized Dali (via an actor, whose features were manipulated through more than 1,000 hours of machine learning to train an AI algorithm to learn aspects of the artist’s face). Dali’s own words were used, along with a thick Spanish accent. The result is 45 hours of “new” footage, crafted into 125 individual videos, so that the AI Dali has lots and lots of different “Dali-esque” things to say whenever he’s approached by a visitor.

“We’re living in an era of great biographical interest,” executive director Hank Hine told the Catalyst in April. “We’re interested in people and what makes them tick – and this gives you that experience, which makes it that much easier to get into the artwork itself, and to get something out of it.”

May 11 (Saturday) would have been Dali’s 115th birthday.

On June 15, the museum will launch Visual Magic: Dali Masterworks in Augmented Reality, a preview of further technological advances to come. “It’s like having a really well-informed docent inside your head and taking you through the paintings,” Hine said.

In related news, the Dali Museum has closed its online store (that’d be The museum’s physical gift shop, however, remains open for business.

And now, this

St. Petersburg Opera Company’s artistic director Mark Sforzini has a program at 6 p.m. today in the downstairs performance room of the Iberian Rooster. His freewheeling, illuminating Cocktails With the Maestro is part concert, part discussion, and will feature cast members from SPO’s imminent double-bill production of Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi. Details here.

Paul Wilborn’s international, bay area-wide book tour brings him to the Tully-Levine Gallery Friday at 6 p.m. There the writer, pianist and raconteur will talk about, and read from, his just -published book of short stories, Cigar City: Tales From a 1980s Creative Ghetto. He’ll be joined by photographer David Audet to talk about the real-life Ybor City Artists & Writers’ Group events that inspired the book. Tombolo Books will have copies to sell, and Callaloo will have Cuban sandwiches and sangria for purchase.

Director and producer Anne Makepeace screens her documentary film Coming to Light: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indians, about the acclaimed early 20th century photographer (read our story about Curtis here) and the impact his groundbreaking work has had on Native Americans, at 2 p.m. Saturday at the James Museum of Modern Art. Space is limited; advanced registration required.

You’re on notice: If you haven’t seen American Stage’s Mamma Mia! at Demens Landing Park, Sunday evening’s show is the very last one.

The Florida Orchestra and the Mahaffey Theater seem to taking some time off from one another; the band’s next appearance at the posh St. Pete venue is May 25. There are two free TFO “in the park” pops concerts this weekend; unfortunately, neither takes place in our city. With Daniel Black conducting, you can catch the orchestra at 7:30 p.m. at Clearwater’s Coachman Park; the pops program repeats Sunday, also at 7:30, at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa. The program includes music from Pirates of the Caribbean, Hook, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, patriotic music and more.

Buyer & Cellar, a sharp, snarky comedy by playwright Jonathan Tolins, opens Saturday at freeFall Theatre. Lots more on this tomorrow in the Catalyst.

Act III: A Musical Review, an original musical by Gulfport’s Ani Crane, with Donna Dobbs, is onstage Sunday at 2 p.m. at thestudio@620. The synopsis reads thus: “The story follows three best friends who overcome life’s doubts and challenges together. The ladies make a pact to follow their dreams, go with the flow and meet again at the big 70 – journey with them and join in the musical reunion that follows.”

  • Are you a performing arts space, large, small or in-between, an art gallery, a bookshop or any place where public cultural events take place? Please put us on your email list – we can’t publicize you if we don’t know what (or who) you are! The address is Thanks.







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