St. Pete school kids visit Ya La'Ford's latest art exhibit, share hopes and dreams of their own

The exhibit has been extended and will run indefinitely in Sarasota.

click to enlarge Ya La'Ford shared her latest exhibit with 150 school kids from Sarasota, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties - PHOTO BY SKYLER JUNE PURSIFULL
Photo by Skyler June Pursifull
Ya La'Ford shared her latest exhibit with 150 school kids from Sarasota, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties

"American/Rōōts," the new Ringling Museum exhibition from St. Petersburg artist Ya La'Ford is an “invitation to reflect on the collective trauma endured due to recent political conflict, the global health pandemic, and the ongoing climate crisis.”

Recently extended and on display indefinitely, American/Rōōts uses gold and black geometric patterns and intersecting lines to pay tribute to the system of roots found in nature.

"My work as an artist is to bridge communities with the universal dialogue of artistic expression. 'American/Rōōts' is an opportunity for us to recognize the interconnectedness between all living things," La'Ford wrote in a press release.

"American/Rōōts" is part of the Skyway 20/21 exhibit, a regional collaboration that showcases the work of selected artists from the five counties served by its respective museums: the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art , the Tampa Museum of Art, and the USF Contemporary Art Museum.

This week, La'Ford shared the exhibit with 150 school kids from Sarasota, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. On Tuesday, the kids spent the day exploring the museum before planting a coconut palm tree in the Ringling's "secret garden"—complete with rocks hand-painted with their hopes and dreams for the future.
click to enlarge Ya La'Ford shared her latest exhibit with 150 school kids from Sarasota, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties - PHOTO BY SKYLER JUNE PURSIFULL
Photo by Skyler June Pursifull
Ya La'Ford shared her latest exhibit with 150 school kids from Sarasota, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties
“The student tree planting experience is one that inspired the students to gain a better understanding of each other and their contribution to the natural world around us,” La’Ford told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. “As such, this a permanent extension of the exhibition allows the students better understand how we are all rooted together and to share such an impactful experience with many generations to come.”

This installation is a continuation of La’Ford’s footprint in the Tampa Bay region.

Some of her previous artwork includes a mural project at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum in 2015, a collaboration with MYcroSchool Pinellas students to paint the north wall of the historic Manhattan Casino in 2016, and a collaboration with the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the City of St. Petersburg on a mural at Al Lang Stadium where over 100 St. Petersburg residents placed their hands upon the mural.

“I have been working with these students for over seven years, in every installation, creating different experiences and exploring the power of art,” La’Ford added. “The power of where we spend our time is a gift and in my life, I want to spend any extra time uplifting these children, who are our future so they know the implications of their actions and the opportunity they have to create a beautiful future.”
click to enlarge Ya La'Ford shared her latest exhibit with 150 school kids from Sarasota, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties - PHOTO BY SKYLER JUNE PURSIFULL
Photo by Skyler June Pursifull
Ya La'Ford shared her latest exhibit with 150 school kids from Sarasota, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties
UPDATED 02/11/22 10:20 a.m. Updated show dates and photocredits.

About The Author

Sofía García Vargas

Sofía García Vargas, born in Colombia, South America and raised in Costa Rica, Central America, is a journalism student at the University of South Florida and Editor-in-Chief of The Crow’s Nest, USF St. Petersburg’s student newspaper. Her passions range from art and music to sports and food. She dreams of becoming...
Scroll to read more Local Arts articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

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

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]