Tampa Bay August arts roundup: comic book art, comedy improv, a cupcake contest and much more

UT exhibit traces the evolution and history of comic books

A new exhibition at the University of Tampa explores the art and history of comic books from the beginnings of iconic characters like Superman and Captain America to the current day. 

“Zooming Superheroes from Dyes to DPI: The Visual and Technical Evolution of Comic Book Printing,” on exhibit at the UT Scarfone/Hartley Gallery through October 6th, features a mix of cover reprints of famous issues and actual comic books.

“I haven’t seen anyone do this in this kind of way,” says Jocelyn Boigenzahn, director of the UT College of Arts and Letters galleries. “Mostly what makes this unique is you can touch the comic books. You can open up the cases and read through them.”

Boigenzahn says the idea for Zooming Superheroes goes back to an exhibit last July showcasing the work of Tampa area resident and Iron Man writer and artist Bob Layton. Layton suggested an entire exhibition on comic book art and history and Boigenzahn thought it was an “awesome idea.”

The exhibit traces the evolution of iconic characters such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America, the many Captain Marvels and the X-Men through the decades. Beginning with the Bronze Age of the 1970s and 80s, there’s also a shift to more gritty and realistic themes that reflect the social change of the time.

image“Zooming Superheroes from Dyes to DPI: The Visual and Technical Evolution of Comic Book Printing,” is on exhibit at the UT Scarfone/Hartley Gallery through October 6th.“Half of our gallery shows all of our favorites as they transition through time and how the art work transforms,” Boigenzahn says. “What I really liked about this build was going through the process of actually seeing them all together. It’s not until you see the original Superman and then, in the same breath, see a newer one that you realize how much the art changed and how much the style evolved. And it wasn’t just new artists it was also new interests and growth and inspiration. There are a lot of places where you see current culture bleeding into comic books. It’s not a separate universe.”

Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. # 7 from 1968 is one of the original issues on display that shows the influence of modern art on comic art. Artist Jim Steranko was influenced by surrealism and pop art and the melting clocks and imagery of the cover are an homage to Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Everything.” 

The exhibition follows the comic book medium through the establishment of the Comic Code Authority, decades of social change, the emergence of graphic novels, the rise of independent publishers like Image and Dark Horse, more diverse characters and storytelling and the current-day era of streaming shows and blockbuster movies. 

The exhibition also explores how comic books are made, with a detailed dive into penciling, lettering, inking, coloring and printing. 

The Scarfone/Hartley Gallery, 310 North Blvd., is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. A free reception for “Zooming Superheroes from Dyes to DPI: The Visual and Technical Evolution of Comic Book Printing” is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, September 1st. 

For more information, go to Zooming Superheroes reception.

Countdown Improv Festival returns to Ybor City

The Countdown Improv Festival returns to the performing arts center on Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor City campus from August 9th through 12th.   

Brooklyn-based improv duo Kelly Buttermore and Justin Peters launched the festival in 2017, with the idea it would be a pop-up festival held in a different city each year. But they fell in love with the Ybor City location and decided to make it the festival’s permanent home. This year’s festival is the largest yet, with a total of 77 solo, duo and trio improv acts from across the country.

For more information, the lineup, schedule and tickets, go to Countdown Improv Festival.

Keepers of Heritage: Hidden Tales at Creative Pinellas

“Keepers of Heritage: Hidden Tales/ Custodios de la Herencia: Cuentos Ocultos,” an exhibit featuring the work of Puerto Rican artists, is at Creative Pinellas from August 3rd through October 15th.

Curated by Yasir Nieves, Keepers of the Heritage features original work, including painting, sculpture, drawing and engraving, by artists from Puerto Rico, Florida and New York.

image“Keepers of Heritage: Hidden Tales/ Custodios de la Herencia: Cuentos Ocultos,” an exhibit featuring the work of Puerto Rican artists, is at Creative Pinellas from August 3rd through October 15th.

“We are always seeking opportunities to expand what we have to offer at the gallery, to explore new voices, to bring visitors and tourists new, exciting and valuable experiences, and to make high-quality arts experiences available to everybody,” Creative Pinellas CEO Barbara St. Clair says in a press statement. “With Keepers of Heritage, we have the opportunity to introduce our community to artists from Puerto Rico and other areas that have been influential in terms of the history and culture of Florida.”

An opening reception is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on August 5th. 

For more information, go to Keepers of the Heritage.

New exhibits at Tempus Projects, Drift in Kress Contemporary

“Throw Them Bones on the Ground” is on display at Tempus Projects’ main gallery from August 17th through September 28th. 

The group exhibition explores “themes of identity and perseverance in light of the current political climate and local and state politics,” according to a description in a press release from Tempus Projects.

“The exhibition fortifies Tempus Projects’ identity as a safe space for all artists and art professionals, dedicated to amplifying the voices of artists from an inclusive range of backgrounds and life experiences,” the description continues.

“Throw Them Bones on the Ground” features works by renowned artists Kalup Linzy, Catalina Cheng, John Murdock and Chantel Foretich. 

“Kalup Linzy, a collage, video, photography, and performance artist, challenges ideas of gender and draws inspiration from pop cultural forums,” the exhibit description says. “Catalina Cheng, a multidisciplinary artist, explores relationships and narratives through her seemingly sweet yet cheeky ceramics. John Murdock’s paintings explore identity, the body, play, and relationships through the non-idealized figure and vague narratives. Chantel Foretich, a sculptor based in Santa Fe, creates small-scale versions of real and imagined scenes imbued with history and meaning.”

An opening reception is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on August 17th.  Gallery hours are Thursday to Saturday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tempus Projects is located on the second floor of the Kress Collective, 1624 E. 7th Ave. in Ybor City.

For more information, go to Tempus Projects.

“Cemented Horizon at the Bottom of the Sea” at Drift

“Cemented Horizon at the Bottom of the Sea,” a collection of works by environmental artist Beatriz Chachamovits is on display at Drift in the Kress Contemporary from August 17th through September 28th.

image“Cemented Horizon at the Bottom of the Sea,” a collection of works by environmental artist Beatriz Chachamovits is on display at Drift in the Kress Contemporary from August 17th through September 28th.Curated by Lilian Beltram, the exhibit features sculptures by Chachamovits that highlight the devastating effects climate change and sea-level rise have on delicate coral reefs. The artwork depicts “the destruction of these fragile ecosystems and finds beauty in the distorted shapes of diseased corals,” an exhibit description says.

An opening reception is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on August 17th. Drift is an independent curator’s space in the second-floor gallery space of the Kress Collective, 1624 E. 7th Ave. in Ybor City.

For more information, go to Tempus Projects.

“Native America: In Translation” at USF CAM

“Native America: In Translation,” an exhibit assembling the work of nine Indigenous artists whose work focuses on issues of identity and heritage, land rights and colonialism, is on display at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum from August 25th through December 1st. 

“Probing the legacies of settler colonialism, and photography’s complex and often fraught role in constructing representation of Native cultures, the exhibition includes works by lens-based artists Rebecca Belmore (Anishinaabe, Lac Seul First Nation), Nalikutaar Jacqueline Cleveland (Yup’ik), Martine Gutierrez (American), Koyoltzintli (Ecuadorian-American), Duane Linklater (Omaskêko Ininiwak from Moose Cree First Nation), Guadalupe Maravilla (American), Kimowan Metchewais (Cree, Cold Lake First Nations), Alan Michelson (Mohawk, Six Nations of the Grand River), and Marianne Nicolson (Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nations), offering new perspectives on Indigenous identity by reimagining what it means to be a citizen in North America today,” a description in a USF CAM press release states.

“Native America: In Translation” is curated by Apsáalooke artist Wendy Red Star and organized by New York-based nonprofit Aperture.

A free opening reception and exhibition walkthrough is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on August 25th. A free ART Thursday Concert in the Galleries is scheduled for 7 p.m. on September 14th. Performances by USF students, faculty and the USF Community Music Project will feature world premieres of original scores composed by William Linthicum-Blackhorse and USF faculty member Justin Giarrusso. 

For more information on “Native America: In Translation,”  museum hours and additional events related to the exhibit,  and museum hours, go to USF CAM.

Clyde Butcher talk at Capitol Theatre in downtown Clearwater

Famed landscape photographer Clyde Butcher will give a lecture titled “CUBA: The Natural Beauty – Nature Has No Borders” at The Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre at 7 p.m. on August 16th.

The lecture is related to Butcher’s exhibit, “CUBA: The Natural Beauty – The Photographic Expeditions of Clyde Butcher,” which is on display at Clearwater’s downtown public library through October 31st.

“Commissioned by the United Nations to create a portfolio of the mountainous lands of Cuba, Clyde Butcher set out on three week-long expeditions into unfamiliar lands,” an exhibit description on Clearwater’s website says. “He explored the island country’s varied geographic regions, from the Sierra Maestra Mountains in Cuba’s eastern Granma province, to the southern coast between Manzananilo and Santiago de Cuba. He ventured to places including Baracoa in the northeast, the southern waterfalls of the Serra de San Juan, and the mogotes of the west in the Piña del Rio region.”

Before his lecture, Butcher will be signing copies of his books inside the exhibit space at the downtown library, 100 N. Osceola Ave. “El Arte: Echoes of Cuba,” which features the works of  19 local Tampa Bay artists, is also on display in the library’s exhibit space.

To reserve tickets for Clyde Butcher’s August 16th lecture, go to “CUBA: The Natural Beauty – Nature Has No Borders.”

For more information on the exhibits, go to “CUBA: The Natural Beauty – The Photographic Expeditions of Clyde Butcher.

“Bruce Marsh – A Six Decade Survey” at USF Carolyn M. Wilson Gallery

University of South Florida Professor Emeritus Bruce Marsh’s paintings are on display in a new exhibit at USF’s Carolyn M. Wilson Gallery. 

Presented by the USF School of Art & Art History, “Bruce Marsh – A Six Decade Survey” features more than four dozen oil paintings and watercolors that trace Marsh’s career from 1963 in California, where he grew up and attended UC Santa Barbara, to the current day work he creates at his studio in Ruskin on the Little Manatee River.  

imageUniversity of South Florida Professor Emeritus Bruce Marsh’s paintings are on display in the new exhibit “Bruce Marsh – A Six Decade Survey,” at USF’s Carolyn M. Wilson Gallery. 

Marsh retired from USF in 2003, after 37 years with the university.

“Marsh’s paintings are thought out,” an exhibit description says. “They are intellectual and they are visceral. His works stimulate all the senses. The exhibition will demonstrate that Marsh is a painter’s painter, meaning that he is committed to the process of painting as well as to all that goes on before putting the paint to canvas – the thinking and planning, the strategy, the invention and the intuitive response to an idea, a subject, or a concept. The exhibition will trace themes and threads of ideas and concepts that have been an interest and focus for Marsh for six decades. While he was teaching Marsh remained a student himself constantly striving to learn more and experiment. He says studying Josef Albers’ work in the 1960s was his key to understanding color. Over his career, he became a master of color. The exhibition will manifest his experiments and developments in many areas of perception.
Paintings in the exhibition will demonstrate his interest in many themes including the landscape and particularly the land around Ruskin that has changed dramatically in the last twenty years.  He made annual trips to Utah between 2005 and 2010.  The rock formations and light inspired him to make paintings that encourage us to question our ideas about perception. A cabin in the woods pushed him in other directions and experiments.”

“Bruce Marsh- A Six Decade Survey” is on display at the Carolyn M. Wilson Gallery from August 21st through September 7th. An opening reception is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, August 25th.

For more information, go to USF School of Art and Art History.

Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest at Morean Arts Center

The Morean Arts Center’s 12th annual Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest fundraiser is 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, August 26th at the Morean Center for Clay, 420 22nd St. S.
Bakers may register through August 18th to compete in the novice, professional, youth/teen and specialty (vegan/gluten-free) and to vie for the people’s choice award. The popular annual event may draw up to 200 contestants. Cupcakes are judged by originality, taste/texture and the artistic presentation of a contestant’s table. Attendees will be able to sample the mini-cupcakes made by contestants.  

For more information, go to Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest.

This month at the Morean Arts Center gallery at 719 Central Ave., “Psychedelic,” the 2023 members show, and “Donna M. Richardson: Spiritual Influences” are on display through August 24th. Steph Hargrove’s “CauseFlowers: PRIDE,” which features giant felt dahlia sculptures designed to represent pride flags from the LGBTQ community, is on display from August 5th through 31st, with an artist reception from 5 p.m. to  8 p.m. on Saturday, August 12th.

For more information, go to Morean Arts Center.

Artist applications for Gasparilla Festival of the Arts

The 54th annual Gasparilla Festival of the Arts is accepting artist applications through October 2nd.

Local, national and international artists may apply. The Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts is scheduled for March 2nd and 3rd, 2024. Up to 235 artists will display and sell their work to a weekend crowd of more than 30,000 people. Festival jurors will review the work and award up to 40 with prizes of at least $1,000, including the $15,000 Raymond James Best-in-Show award. In response to artist feedback, GFA will institute a new jury and awards process in 2024. 

For more information on that process, festival rules and the application, go to Gasparilla Festival of the Arts application rules.
 

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