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Your weekend arts forecast: Second Saturday ArtWalk picks up speed

Bill DeYoung

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From Florida CraftArt's "Oh, the Places We Can Go," a detail from "Mona Has a Secret” by ArtLofts artist Sue Hess.

The looper trolleys still aren’t operating for the monthly Second Saturday ArtWalk – but pandemic protocol and social distancing don’t really have anything – to do with it. Directly.

No, says St. Petersburg Arts Alliance Associate Director Tracy Kennard, the ongoing labor shortage is the culprit here. There won’t be any free trolley service for this Saturday’s event because the company that provides the vehicles simply doesn’t have enough drivers.

Kinda like what’s happening in restaurants, she explains, “where you see all these ‘now hiring’ signs, and yet there’s still a labor shortage.”

The Downtown Partnership, Kennard adds, operates the looper trolleys for the Arts Alliance. “Right at this time, they just can’t commit” to ferrying ArtWalk visitors between galleries, studios and shops.

“This is always a challenging time as well, because of the Rays game happening, and other events going on that do use the trolley service.”

Looping between the Central Arts District, Edge District, Grand Central District, Warehouse Arts District, Uptown Arts District and downtown Waterfront Arts District, the Second Saturday passenger service has been suspended since March of 2020. The Arts Alliance staff is hopeful that August might be the magic month that sees the trolley wheels rolling again.

“Oddly enough, August has traditionally been one of our most popular ArtWalks, despite it being so hot out,” says Kennard. “I think that mostly had to do with, there wasn’t a whole lot of competition. It’s too hot to have any kind of a festival, so ArtWalk was the place to be. I’ll touch base with them again after this week’s ArtWalk, to see where they’re at.”

Trolleys or no, each month’s ArtWalk attendance has increased; masks are voluntary at most places these days (but not all, so it might be prudent to tuck one away in a pocket just in case), and even wine-and-cheese receptions are slowly making a comeback. “So there is a feeling of normalcy back happening in the arts community,” according to Kennard.

Saturday’s ArtWalk (5-9 p.m.) includes a tent/marketplace in the big Warehouse Arts District Arts Xchange parking lot, with live music, a drum circle, food trucks and, yes indeed, original art for sale. And, of course, the Tully-Levine Gallery and the Soft Water/MGA Sculpture Studios will be open and welcoming.

You just can’t get to them on a trolley.

Here’s the official Arts Alliance participant listing, with all the details, for Saturday’s self-guided event.

More art happenings

At Mize Gallery, “play,” an exhibit of colorful new works by Andrea Pawlisz, opens with a reception Friday from 6-9 p.m. The exhibit runs through July 31, Saturdays and Sundays.

Florida CraftArt’s new show is “Oh, the Places We Can Go,” opens with an awards ceremony and reception Friday at 6 p.m. From around the state, 37 artists created more than 80 pieces in ceramics, fiber, glass, metal and wood, all in a travel motif. The exhibit will remain through Aug. 28.

Next Wednesday (July 14), the 2021 Emerging Artists Exhibition opens (6-8 p.m.) at the Creative Pinellas gallery on Walsingham Road.

On the stage

The Rose and the Beast, freeFall Theatre’s interactive, multi-media romp through the fractured fairy tale world of author Francesca Lia Block, continues this weekend. Director Eric Davis describes it for you here.

The St. Petersburg Latin Jazz Festival is a series of three concerts, over three nights (Friday through Sunday) at the Palladium Theater, featuring a powerhouse lineup each show. Here’s our story from Wednesday with all the details.

Please forward all event notices and press materials to bill@stpetecatalyst.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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