Around this time each year, fall arts season kicks into full gear, and the sheer number of visual arts exhibitions can be difficult to keep up with. For your perusing pleasure, here are a couple of shows currently on view or opening this week that are worth making time for.
• Tampa Heights print atelier Bleu Acier invites artists represented by New York's Haim Chanin Fine Arts to join some of the most talented artists who call Tampa Bay home in Artists Handwriting: Drawing, New York/Tampa, an exhibit devoted to — you guessed it — drawings. Locally based (but not merely locally known) notables including Gregory Green, Elisabeth Condon, Neil Bender, Joe Griffith, Brian Taylor, Kim Anderson and Theo Wujcik are paired with an assortment of artists from around the U.S. and Europe, including Peter Soriano, Max Neumann, Herve DiRosa, Vicky Colombet, Dominica Sanchez and Voshardt/Humphrey. For a couple of years now, Bleu Acier — a space that, surprisingly, remains under most people's radar in the Bay area — has paired with Haim Chanin to promote its artists in the New York market while quietly eking out an existence in Tampa. Dense with wonderful explorations of the drawing medium, this show is evidence of Bleu Acier's status as one of the area's best-kept secrets. Runs through Nov. 22; for more information, go to bleuacier.com.
•Last year, inspiration struck at the state's finest universities: Why not collaborate to promote the work of their graduate students in the visual arts with exhibits throughout the state, culminating in a major group show at Art Basel Miami Beach each year? On Friday from 6-11 p.m., the Bustillo y Diaz Cigar Factory (2111 N. Albany Ave., Tampa) hosts an opening reception for the 2008 FloCas (Florida Consortium of Art Schools) Traveling Exhibition, where the exhibit runs through Oct. 24. Thirty graduate students from the University of South Florida, Florida State University and the University of Florida made the cut for juror Bonnie Clearwater, the greatly esteemed director of the North Miami Museum of Contemporary Art. If last year's inaugural show was any indication, this show will be an eye-opening look at some impressive emerging talents. For more information, go to flocas.org.