Billy Mays III of Mouth Council

Billy Mays III of Mouth Council shows off his technique during a recent concert in Tampa.

CLEARWATER — The city’s Community Redevelopment Agency learned a big lesson after thousands of art lovers donned virtual reality glasses to “stroll” through the strange, ant-filled landscapes of Salvador Dali paintings: Cool technology brings people to downtown.

The Dreams of Dali pop-up exhibition, which CRA spokeswoman Rosemary D’Amour said has attracted at least 3,500 tech and art enthusiasts since January, convinced the CRA to do another technology event at Second Century Studios, this one bigger and better.

The CRA’s inaugural Art and Technology Showcase, set for June 22, is a half-day showcase of discussion, demos and interactive activities that demonstrate how technology can play a powerful role in audience experience, D’Amour said. 

“The Dali exhibit showed us that technology is an important part of our lives, that it has impacted our art and culture,” she said. “Clearwater has a high concentration of high-tech workers and they and the public who love tech want to engage their need to experience art.”

The grab-bag of Tampa-area tech performers and artists includes:

• An augmented and virtual reality demonstration with the University of South Florida’s Access3D Lab. The USF program will show how 3D scanning presents countless opportunities for analytical and creative projects such as virtual museum creation, machine parts design, digital sculpting, and forensic analysis.

• The Clearwater Main Library will show off the uses of its 3-D printer.

• Spontaneous group vocal looping will be performed by Mouth Council with Billy Mays III.

• Matthew Reisinger, a sight, sound and stage designer, will demonstrate his light and sound mixer.

• Urban Conga will use electronics to create an interactive and playful sight, sound, and movement installation. The group has been known to use interactive toys, giant beach balls, swings, and interactive projections.

Amanda Thompson, the CRA’s director, will lead a panel discussion with USF’s Access 3D Lab and the staff from the Clearwater library about the intersection of art and technology and its future in downtown Clearwater. 

Thompson and the CRA are utilizing other tools to revitalize the city’s downtown. The CRA provides grants and other financial help to restaurant owners willing to open food and drink establishments downtown. Thompson is also the city’s point person for educating the public on Imagine Clearwater, the long-term plan to architecturally revamp and redesign how downtown is utilized by the public and consumers.

The Art and Technology Showcase runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at Second Century Studios, 331-A Cleveland St.

The CRA, which sits as the City Council, aims to promote Downtown Clearwater’s ongoing neighborhood revitalization through programs and initiatives that strengthen and stimulate the local economy and community.

For more information, contact D’Amour at rosemary.damour@myclearwater.com or call her at 727-562-4024