Spring Arts Preview 2017: On the fringes

Amazing events in visual arts, theater, music and more coming to the Bay area and beyond.

click to enlarge Fabio Napoleoni’s “Unbounded Affection” at the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts. - Fabio Napoleoni
Fabio Napoleoni
Fabio Napoleoni’s “Unbounded Affection” at the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts.

It seems odd to me that I’m writing about art on the fringe when this Spring Arts Preview includes encouragement — from me, no less — to head to the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts. Hear me out, folks, because art on the fringe is everywhere, even in the most mainstream of places.

SPRING ARTS PREVIEW BY MONTH:

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

St. Petersburg likes to market itself as a city of the arts, and with the arrival of private collection museums and more public art than ever before, that’s more or less accurate. But I’ve also noticed something: Rents are increasing with the ’Burg’s appeal, and so it’s outside downtown — on the fringe, so to speak — that you have to look to find cutting-edge art. Warehouse Arts District or The EDGE, anyone? Over in Tampa, one of the best art exhibits I’ve seen lately wasn’t at the Tampa Museum of Art but at Tempus Projects — if you missed Noelle Mason’s timely and provocative Boys on Film, you truly don’t know what you missed.

The little guys are the ones to watch, because they’re poised to become our area’s giants. Look, I’m not telling you to disregard The Dalí or the Museum of Fine Arts, or not to see a show in Morsani Hall, because I do all those things. But I am saying that if we really want to put our money where our mouths are with this whole local movement, now is the time to support local artists and art venues, and in a big way. Tempus sells memberships; Keep St. Pete Lit showcases local art — spoken and visual — with its now-annual Fantastic Ekphrastic. The entire Pinellas Park Creative District lives and breathes visual and written art. Jobsite brings local musicians into their productions (as well as local actors), and come May they’re partnering with two Tampa-educated performing artists to create the first Tampa International Fringe Festival, which is contractually obligated to give half its slots to local artists. (And don’t forget GASP!, CL’s own mini-Fringe, an annual showcase at TMA for some of the area’s best performers.) Tampa Rep and freeFALL are among the fine local theater companies doing often adventurous work.

The list goes on. Over the next few months, venture out of your comfort zone and seek out local artists in new areas. Never been to Red Door No. 5? Now’s the time. Want to meet local published authors? Check out Wordier Than Thou’s ever-evolving list of writer’s events. Don’t know where to start? Almost every fringe art destination in Tampa Bay has a monthly gallery walk of some sort, and if you need to know when they are, look no further than your friendly alt (in the good way) paper (or in the pages that follow).

Oh, and that EPCOT thing? Yeah, I’m not so much for the Mickey art and there is an awful lot of it in this first-year festival, yes. But in between the not-so-hidden Mickeys you’ll find Florida artists showcasing their not-even-a-little-bit-Disney work; Fabio Napoleoni and Rachelle Eason were the two whose work made me happy. If you head out there, make a point of seeking out the non-Disney art because at Disney — and the rest of the world — supply and demand rules the day.

Demand local art — and you’ll start to see more of it.

—Cathy Salustri

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

Scroll to read more Local Arts articles

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.