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Akiko Kotani's work will be featured in a new exhibition opening June 6 at Creative Pinellas.

Creative Pinellas to present Akiko Kotani exhibit ‘Unbound’

LARGO — “Unbound,” a new exhibition by Akiko Kotani, will be presented as an open run beginning with an opening reception Thursday, June 6, 6 p.m., in the gallery at Creative Pinellas, 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo.

The reception will include a gallery talk at 7 p.m., facilitated by Danny Olda, Creative Pinellas curator. The talk will be followed by a question-and-answer session. The event is free and open to the public.

The exhibition is a large-scale reflection on memory, domesticity and handiwork, time passing and moving through space featuring two major installation works. “Waterfalls at Millford Valley” tumbles over 20 feet from the gallery’s heights into soft piles on the floor and explores the artist’s memories of the many waterfalls in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park. “Soft Walls” is composed of two large 8-foot-tall walls that are draped in crocheted plastic and bisect the west half of the gallery. At once imposing and gentle, the work is a powerful meditation on historically women’s handwork.

“The first thing that people will notice,” said Olda, “the artwork is huge. The smallest piece is about eight feet tall, but at the same time, it’s strangely tender and peaceful. Consistent with other works we have shown at the Gallery, it invites contemplation and reflection, and encourages the viewer to walk away changed. These two pieces have never been exhibited together. It’s an innovative medium and process.”

Kotani is the Creative Pinellas Artist Laureate. She will lead a workshop for artists Friday, June 7, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Creative Pinellas Arts Business Incubator, 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo. The workshop will focus on navigating the creative journey, exploring the many challenges that artists go through on their path and strategies for overcoming obstacles and finding success.

Kotani also will be leading a PechaKucha Sunday, June 23, 1 to 3 p.m. Providing creative feedback in a casual setting, this event will take place in the Gallery at Creative Pinellas.

“We are so happy to be able to present Akiko’s artwork to the community,” said Barbara St. Clair, executive director of Creative Pinellas. “In working together to define her role as our first Artist Laureate, we have had the wonderful pleasure of getting to know her. We’ve discovered that, in addition to being a powerful artist with a fresh view on materials and dimension, she is also a knowledgeable, kind and effective teacher. So, we are thrilled to be able to host her workshop and exhibit.”

Kotani was born in Waipahu, Hawaii. She received her BFA in painting from the University of Hawaii and her MFA in textiles from the Tyler School of Art, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. Now residing in Gulfport, she was Professor Emerita of Art at Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania. Her work is in the permanent collection of several private and public museums including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Her work is currently represented by Leslie Curran Gallery, St. Petersburg.

For information, visit creativepinellas.org/akiko-kotani or register for the workshop at creativepinellas.org/lunchandlearn.

Safety Harbor Public Art announces calls for artists

SAFETY HARBOR — The city of Safety Harbor Public Art Committee is seeking proposals from artists or artist teams for two upcoming public art projects.

Proposals are sought for the following projects:

  • Safety Harbor Community Center: Brady Fisher — The free-standing piece will honor the commitment of late downtown business owner and resident Brady Fisher. The piece should include a sports theme.  Fisher was a longtime supporter of youth athletic programs more specifically basketball. The piece should also include #BradyStrong, the hashtag that the city embraced during Fisher’s battle with cancer.
  • Safety Harbor Baranoff Park: Heart of the Community — The free-standing sculpture will honor the generosity of George Weiss. Weiss has donated several thousands of dollars to community parks in Safety Harbor. His donations have allowed for the development of active and passive parks for all to enjoy. Parks and Weiss are the “heart of the community” in Safety Harbor. To honor Weiss, the free-standing piece should include a heart or hands holding a heart.

The application deadline for both pieces is June 28, 2019. Interested artists should visit SafetyHarborPublicArt.com and download the application.

For more information on Safety Harbor Public Art Committee, visit www.safetyharborpublicart.com

Studio 1212 to host exhibition opening reception

CLEARWATER — An opening reception for “Surprise Me!” will take place Sunday, June 2, noon to 3 p.m., at Studio 1212, 1405 Cleveland St., Clearwater.

Admission is free and the event is open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. The show will continue through Sept. 14. Gallery hours are Wednesday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For information, call 727-999-1524 or visit www.studio1212.org

St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s Funding Futures enters its third year

ST. PETERSBURG — Talented at-risk students who aspire to be musicians, actors, dancers or visual artists are often faced with financial need that prevents many from pursuing an artistic field.

St. Pete Arts Alliance’s Funding Futures program is dedicated to helping students nurture their creative interests and develop their expressive talent by providing funding to eligible students and connecting them to local after school arts programs or summer arts camps. Creative thinking, problem solving, communication and cooperation are attributes and skills that are learned through the making of art all of which contribute to the mental and emotional growth of a child. Students highly involved in the arts are 20% more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree and 17% more likely to volunteer.

Art experiences especially help low-income and at-risk youth. Art students on free or reduced lunch were 4 times more likely to have high academic achievement and 3 times more likely to have high attendance. They were also more likely than their peers to have attended and done well in college, built careers, volunteered in the community and voted.

The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s Funding Futures Student Award program is designed to identify and encourage talented at-risk emerging artists, ages 10-17, in Pinellas County seeking St. Petersburg programs in the categories of dance, music, jazz, voice, theater, digital arts, photography, cinematic arts or visual arts.

Funds may be used for:

  • Tuition for summer arts programs
  • Musical instruments rental, purchase or repair
  • Equipment or supplies for a special artistic project
  • Individual instruction or master class tuition

Funding Futures is open to all talented artists regardless of ethnic, social or economic background, or ability/disability. For application information, email tracy@stpeteartsalliance.org

Central Park Performing Arts Center adds new show

to Summer Music Series

LARGO — Billy Cobham Crosswinds Project featuring Randy Brecker will perform Saturday, Sept. 21, 8 p.m., at Central Park Performing Arts Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo.

Tickets start at $34.50. Call 727-587-6793 or visit largoarts.com.

Cobham is generally acclaimed as fusion’s greatest drummer. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame in 2013. He came to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s playing with legendary trumpeter Miles Davis and then with the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Since then, he has become a legend within the international jazz community and beyond.

Cobham’s performance in Largo will be only one of two Florida dates on this 75th Birthday Celebration Tour. He will be performing with his 7-piece band and horn section featuring legendary trumpeter Randy Brecker. 

Palm Harbor Community Chorus to perform

PALM HARBOR — The Palm Harbor Community Chorus will perform in concert Saturday, June 8, 2 p.m., at Palm Harbor Public Library, 2330 Nebraska Ave., Palm Harbor.

The chorus will sing chorale favorites from all regions of the United States as they take listeners on a “chorale road trip.” The chorus is directed by Anita Bona.

The concert is free but a love offering will be accepted. For information, call 727-518-9837. 

Jahfari to play Clearwater Craft Beer Fest

CLEARWATER — The Clearwater Craft Beer Fest will take place Saturday, June 1, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., in the 500 and 600 block of Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater.

The festival will feature food trucks, local restaurants, musical and variety acts, demonstrations, interactive games and a selection of Tampa Bay area craft beers. The entertainment will include performances by Chris McCarty, The Rectifiers, and reggae band headliner Jahfari. The block party will also include a children’s art area along with art related activities for all ages. Crowds will also be entertained by roving performers, aerialists, henna art, face painting, balloon sculpture, caricatures, Chalk Art, live art demonstrations, interactive games and much more.

For information, visit www.clearwaterdowntownpartnership.com

The Florida Orchestra’s season finale

features Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto

Music director Michael Francis will wrap up The Florida Orchestra’s 51st season with three nights of concerts May 24-26, featuring Tchaikovsky’s beloved Violin Concerto in the Tampa Bay Times Masterworks series, plus a pay-what-you-can Inside the Music performance of Shostakovich’s heroic Symphony No. 5 on May 23.

The unforgettable melodies of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto will be in the hands of TFO concertmaster Jeffrey Multer, recognized worldwide for his verve and passion on the stage. Appointed concertmaster in 2006, the violinist made his Kennedy Center debut in 1993, and has performed throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. The season finale concerts also include Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 as well as Silver Glass, a short work by Florida State University student Lincoln Sandham, winner of TFO’s Student Composer Competition. Maestro Francis conducts concerts May 24-26 in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. Tickets start at $18. Kids and teens get in free with Classical Kids tickets, available in advance.

For TFO’s Inside the Music series, Maestro Francis will use live orchestra demos to tell the dramatic story of Dmitri Shostakovich. With his colleagues and family members disappearing, he knew his life depended on how he composed his Fifth Symphony under Stalin, who only tolerated music that honored the Soviet Union. The evening ends with a performance of the full symphony. Admission is pay what you can at the door on Thursday, May 23, 7:30 p.m., at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg.

The Florida Orchestra’s new season opens in September and celebrates 250 years of Beethoven and beyond, including Beethoven’s Fifth, music of The Beatles, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Holiday Pops, and much more. Season tickets are on sale now at FloridaOrchestra.org; single tickets are available Aug. 12.

For tickets and information, visit floridaorchestra.org

The Florida Orchestra Brass Quintet

to perform free Memorial Day concert

ST. PETERSBURG — The Florida Orchestra Brass Quintet will perform a free Memorial Day concert Monday, May 27, at The Mall at Sundial St. Pete.

The outdoor performance starts at 6 pm and features patriotic music, American folk songs, popular show tunes, and jazz.

The Brass Quintet features top members of The Florida Orchestra, including Robert Smith, principal trumpet; Ken Brown, assistant principal trumpet; David Smith, principal horn; Joel Vaisse, principal trombone; and William Mickelsen, principal tuba.

For information, visit FloridaOrchestra.org.