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Your weekend arts forecast: Tactile art and other creative riches

Bill DeYoung



Artist Horst Mueller, who specializes in paintings for the visually impaired, speaks Friday at Creative Pinellas. Photo provided.

It isn’t common for an art gallery to encourage visitors to reach out and touch the work on view – as a matter of fact, that’s generally considered one of the major no-no’s of any gallery experience.

That table has turned at The Gallery at Creative Pinellas, where Art SENSEation: A Sensory Art Experience opens with a 6-9 p.m. reception tonight (Thursday, Jan. 30) and will run through Feb. 16.

It’s a collection of diverse pieces of original two-dimensional and three-dimensional artwork, all of which are tactile – textural, interactive or auditory – to add to the visual experience.

Art SENSEation is a collaboration between Creative Pinellas, Florida CraftArt and Arts4All Florida (whose mission is to provide, support and champion arts education and cultural experiences for and by people with disabilities).

Tonight’s panel discussion (with the topic of making art more accessible to a diversity of audiences and abilities) includes Horst W. Mueller (, Brianna Larsen (Theatre eXceptional) and Kim Dorman (Creative Clay). It begins at 7 p.m.

Mueller, a Germany-born, Jensen Beach, Florida-based visual artist whose three-dimensional paintings are specifically created for the blind and visually impaired, will lead a “Lunch & Learn” workshop Friday; details are here.

“If art is truly a universal language, then why have the blind and visually impaired been historically shut out by their handicap?” reads his website. “To try to fix this wrong in the art world has become his artistic direction and passion.”

The Gallery at Creative Pinellas is located at 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo.

The Gulfport Casino takes the spotlight Saturday and Sunday for the 9th annual 2Cool Art Show, a boutique exhibition with 30 fine art and craft artists who call the Gulfport area home. It’s a PAVA show (Professional Association of Visual Artists), with paint, wood, ceramics, photography, metal, glass, digital, mixed media and jewelry, to ogle and/or purchase. Admission (10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days) is free. The historic casino building is right on the water, at 5500 Shore Blvd.

Art of the Stage

“Make More Noise!”

The interactive portion of the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg’s Art of the Stage: Picasso to Hockney rolls along this weekend with these events, all free with paid museum admission:

Tonight, 7-8:30 p.m., Cinema at the MFA presents: Make More Noise!, a documentary film about the depiction of women’s suffrage in the 1920s. Friday, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Cinema at the MFA presents: Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, produced by the National Gallery of Art, 2013, and narrated by Tilda Swinton;  Saturday, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Cutting Edge, a talk by with Philomena Marano, who was the longtime studio assistant to innovative costumer Robert Indiana (his work is featured in Art of the Stage).

Celebration of the Arts

The second annual St. Petersburg Celebration of the Arts – you can read up on it here – begins this weekend with:

Saturday, 12:30-3:30 p.m., Equality Florida LGBTQ+ Youth Art Workshop by Diversity Arts, free for LGBTQ+ youth in the Tampa Bay area at Creative Lofts, (2nd floor/entrance to Florida CraftArt), 10 5th Street N.; Sunday, at 2 and 3:15 p.m., Storytime Concert: Peter and the Wolf with The Florida Orchestra Woodwind Quintet, sponsored by The PJ Library, The Jewish Federation of Florida’s Gulf Coast and TFO, James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art, 150 Central Ave. ($5; free for children age 3 and younger. Advance reservations strongly suggested).


Bernadette Peters

It’s time for The Florida Orchestra’s big gala fundraising concert. This year’s star attraction comes in the form of Broadway singing star Bernadette Peters, who clearly knows her way around an orchestra (the late, lamented Amazon Prime series Mozart in the Jungle, anyone?)

Peters will be center stage for Saturday’s concert, at 7 p.m. at the Mahaffey Theater. Tickets are here.

Michael Francis and TFO will be at the Mahaffey Friday night, too, with the annual Sing Out Tampa Bay! Event. You’re invited to show up and sing along, even if you can’t carry a tune, as Maestro F and vocalist Alex Harris roll out Broadway, movie and popular songs (they’ll provide the words for you, too). It’s the fifth annual such production, and it starts a 7 p.m.; doors open at 6, seating begins at 6:30 pm. At-the-door admission is “pay what you can.”

It’s an all jazz weekend at the Palladium Theater’s Side Door: Saxophonist Jeremy Carter and his group (the Rubber Band) are onstage Friday; “Soul Jazz” spotlights famous tunes by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, James Brown, Stevie Wonder and other pioneering artists from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Tickets here.

Saturday night, the Side Door stage yields to flautist and singer Linda Nash and her eclectic acoustic jazz quintet. Tickets here.

Iconic Texas singer/songwriter Rodney Crowell plays the Capitol Theatre Friday with his acoustic trio; read all about it here.

Pianist Adolfo Mendonça, a Tampa resident, will perform a program of Brazilian music from Jobim to Nascimento (and everything in between) Saturday at thestudio@620. His trio includes two-thirds of the great bay area band La Lucha: Bassist Alejandro Arenas and drummer Mark Feinman, along with vocalist Andrea Thompson. Tickets here.


That percussive stage extravaganza STOMP, on yet another cross-country tour, will crash bang and dance at Ruth Eckerd Hall Friday and Saturday.

Dominque Morisseau’s exceptionally rich drama Skeleton Crew is in its second American Stage weekend; more about it Friday in the Catalyst.

Two other Tampa Bay professional theaters are firing on all cylinders as well: freeFall has its enveloping Sister Rosetta Tharpe character study Marie & Rosetta, while Jobsite’s a fantastical fairyland with Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

  • We can’t stress this enough: If we don’t know about your event, we can’t write anything about it. So please remember to add to your mailing list today!



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