Beware of the “Can You Hear Me?” Scam

Pinellas County Consumer Protection (727) 464-6200

•    Pinellas County Consumer Protection is alerting residents of new robocall scam
•    If you receive a phone call asking “Can You Hear Me?” – hang up; do not say yes
•    Residents advised to not answer calls from unfamiliar numbers

The latest scam may sound like a commercial, but it’s not. Pinellas County Consumer Protection is advising residents who receive a phone call asking “Can you hear me?” to hang up and not say yes.

The objective is to get the victim to respond to the question by saying “yes”. That affirmative response is recorded and then used to authorize unwanted charges on a phone bill, utility bill or with a stolen credit card.

To add legitimacy to the transaction, the scammer may have already collected some personal information about the victim. When the victim disputes the charge, the scammer will validate the charge with the recording of the victim saying “yes,” therefore approving the charge.

Remember: the question doesn’t have to be “Can you hear me?” It can be any question that prompts a “yes” response. The best way to prevent becoming a victim of a telephone scam is to not answer calls from unfamiliar numbers. Residents are advised to hang up if they answer the call.

If you suspect you are a victim of this scam, here are some steps to take:

•    Check your credit card, phone or cable statements for unauthorized charges.
•    Dispute the unauthorized charges with your billing company.
•    If you have been told that you have been reported as approving the charge(s), request proof.

For more information, or to file a complaint, contact Pinellas County Consumer Protection at  (727) 464-6200 or visit

Show Your Stuff at the Annual Gulfport Chili Cookoff on March 19

It’s time to polish your best tastebud-tingling chili recipe and sign up for your chance to win top honors at the annual Gulfport Chili Cookoff coming to the Historic Gulfport Casino on Sunday, March 19, 2017. Home cooks and professionals are invited to compete in this family friendly event for medals and cash prizes.

Officially titled The 2nd Annual Artsy Phartsy Chili Cookoff & Salsa Showoff, the spicy food & music fest is brought to Gulfport by the same dynamic duo that organized the local Industrial Strength Chili Cookoff for four years. Lynn and Amy, the chili cookoff team, expect this year’s turnout will be Gulfport’s greatest ever with up to 25 unique chili & salsa tasting set-ups. Percentage of event admission will support Gulfport’s local non-profit organization, Limbo Chihuahuas & Chihuahua Mix Rescue. We are also inviting any of Gulfport Artists to set up at the event- call us for details.

Cash and medals will be awarded to the winning chili and salsa cooks. The top prize is $100 for Best Chili and $100 for Best Salsa bragging rights. There will be a People’s Choice winner who will receive cash via popular vote. Contestants are asked to register early since space is limited to only 25 entries. Early registration is $25 per contestant until March 10, 2017 ($35 after March 10, 2017). Artistic Gulfport bohemian-style booth decorations are encouraged for extra points in judging.

This will be a hot, hot, hot — fun, fun, fun event that is all family friendly. Admission includes all the championship chili and savory salsa you can eat until it runs out! There will be lots of room for dancing to live music by a local dynamic band, TBA.

Cookoff details, registration and tickets are available online now. General admission tickets at the door will be $10 at for adults (age 12 & up) and $5 for kids.

Corporate sponsorships are also available. For information, call 727-289-9365 or visit the official website at

Sign Up Now for Gulfport’s City Wide Garage Sale

Gulfport residents, we know you got stuff!  Sign up for the permit free bi-annual City of Gulfport City Wide Yard Sale, scheduled for Saturday, March 18 (rain date, Sunday, March 19). Do not miss this incredible opportunity to have your Gulfport address on the brochure for added visibility for free. The City of Gulfport is now accepting addresses to be added to this year’s City Wide Yard Sale brochure.  Deadline to sign up is Friday, March 10th  in order to make print deadline. Please, one address per registration.
“How do I register?” you may ask.  The easiest way is to go to and fill out the web form and hit submit. Other options are to email Gail Biron at with your Gulfport address (You will receive confirmation via email). For those who do not have internet, you can also fill out a form at City Hall, 2401 53rd St. S. or the Gulfport Public Library, 5501 28th Ave. S.
For those who are unable to have their own yard sale (live in an apartment, condo or out of town), Most Holy Name’s expansive parking is conveniently located at 5800 15th Avenue South and will be listed of the city brochure. The lot offers two parking spaces per vehicle for only $10, cash only. Electricity or tables will not be provided. Space is limited and reservations are encouraged. Most Holy Name will offer hamburgers, hot dogs, water and soda for sale. All proceeds from space reservations and food sales benefit the church. To reserve your space, please call the parish office at 727-347-9989 or Chris McNally at 727-642-2280.
So it’s time for spring cleaning cash and to have fun at the same time!  Get your address on the brochure today! A kind and generous THANK YOU goes out the Gabber and Olympus Printing for co-sponsoring this community bi-annual event. For more information, please call Gail Biron at 727-893-1118.

ART: Arts & Culture Best Bets

February may be short in days, but’s long on creative experiences. Check out this month’s articles on The Palladium, St. Pete College Jazz Festival, Gulfport’s Pink Flamingo Home Tour and The St. Petersburg’s Arts Alliance’s Muse awardees.

Look ahead to next month’s Strawberry Festival in Plant City music line-up (Patti LaBelle is coming!) and this July’s pairing of Rod Steward and Cindi Lauper at the Amalie Arena July 8. Don’t miss EPCOT International Festival of the Arts at Disney. Ciao baby, see you around town!  

– Nanette Wiser

BEST BET: The Mahaffey Theater 

In addition to stellar acoustics and glamorous theaters, you can buy a dinner and show package or a VIP experience package. On Feb. 3, rock out with the music of David Bowie a symphonic odyssey with The Florida Orchestra like you’ve never seen them before.

On Feb. 9, enjoy more Motown fun with incomparable Smokey Robinson or catch five-time Grammy award winner Dionne Warwick Feb.12 as she belts out your favorite tunes with special guest star Myles Savage (The Platters) in this Motown party show. Country fans will enjoy a rare appearance by Loretta Lynn Feb. 17 while old rockers can catch up with Yes, The Album Series Feb. 11. Like magic? The Masters of Illusion will thrill you Feb. 20.

BEST BET: Epicurean Theater Feb. 11,  7-9 pm

Searching for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift? Look no further than ‘Candle Making & Date Night’ in the Epicurean Theatre!  Each class participant will be making two 14oz candles to take home to enjoy for Valentine’s Day in addition to their very own wine, cheese & charcuterie provided by Élevage! Attendees will also have an opportunity to compete to make the next Epicurean or Tipsy Candle fragrance to debut this spring.

BEST BET: Clearwater Sea-Blues Music Festival Feb. 17-19

Head down to Coachman Park for two days surrounded by the finest Seafood Clearwater has to offer while enjoying Blues music from International Recording Acts! For more information of this fun filled event visit for more details.


BEST BET: Florida State Fair

Feb. 9-20 There’s haute culture and there’s down home culture, served with deep fried delicious foods. Enjoy the rides, animals, arts and crafts competitions, a salute to Black History, petting zoo, circus Hollywood, Sea Lion Splash, Welde’s Big Bear Show, a state championship draft horse pull, K-9s in flight and SWEET: A Tasty Candy Journey. Concerts: All concerts are FREE with gate admission to the Fair, with the exception of the Country Gold Tour. Discounted admission and ride armband tickets, as well as tickets to Country Gold, are on sale now at

Among the featured performers:

  • The Roots & Boots Tour features Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippen and Collin Raye, an all-star line-up sure to please both hardcore country fans and those who simply enjoy great music. Kershaw has long been one of Country Music’s most definitive voices, with a string of hits ranging from the rowdy “Cadillac Style” to the romantic “Love of My Life.” Feb. 20 at 6 pm, Entertainment Hall, Coca Cola Stage
  • Shalyah Fearing of Hudson, FL, has been singing since the age of five. Flash forward 10 years to 2015, when she auditioned for Season 10 of The Voice and went on to earn a place in the Top 8 Semifinals. With her powerhouse voice and penchant for R&B, she drew comparisons to the likes of Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson. Catch Shalyah before her career explodes! – Feb. 10 at 8pm, on the Sleep Number Stage
  • Performing their award-winning songs and high-energy live shows is GRAMMY -nominated Christian rock band Building 429. The band took their name from the Bible verse Ephesians 4:29, which, to paraphrase, means “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Hailing from Fayetteville, NC, these four men are as committed to their music as they are their message.– Feb. 19 at 6pm, Entertainment Hall, Coca Cola Stage
  • The Country Gold Tour once again will return to the Fair. A fan favorite, the 2017 concerts will boast some of the biggest names to join the tour, including Johnny Lee, David Frizzell and Barbara Fairchild on Feb. 14 and Bobby Bare, the Gatlin Brothers & Marty Haggard (son of the legendary Merle Haggard) on Feb. 15. Leroy Van Dyke of “Auctioneer” and “Walk on By” fame will perform at both shows. $10 general admission, $20 reserved floor seating. Contact the Box Office at 813.740.4640 to reserve. Tickets do not include Fair admission. – Feb. 14 & 15 at 2pm, Entertainment Hall, Coca Cola Stage
  • Joe Zuniga divides his time between Tampa & Monterrey, Mexico. Zuniga grew up listening to music genres such as Tejano, Country, R&B, Hip Hop, Merengue, Salsa and  Bachata, and now is focused on creating a new Grupero style. He has played with several Florida bandsas a keyboard player and back-up vocalist, but recently recorded his first single, “Atado A Tu Amor,” in Mexico. – Feb. 19 at 7pm on the Sleep Number Stage
  • The Judge Talford Bandis comprised of five talented musicians from rural Tennessee. Well-known in the Bluegrass community, the band wanted to broaden their show by including other genres. They now add their own twist to classic rock ‘n’ roll songs – from the ‘50s to modern hits. – Multiple performances throughout the 12 days of the Fair on the Sleep Number Stage
  • The Lauren Mitchell Band is known for the feel and energy of their live performances. This Sarasota-based band is a tour de force, bringing their Blues & Soul to 250 national and international shows each year. – Feb. 18 at 7pm, Tampa Bay Times Stage
  • The River City Boys present a Tribute to the Statler Brothers, celebrating that band’s nearly 50-year career that included five GRAMMYs, two Academy of Country Music awards and three County Music Association awards. When the Statlers retired in 2002 they left millions of fans wanting more – and the River City Boys deliver. – Feb. 14-16 prior to the Elvis Extravaganza, Entertainment Hall, Coca Cola Stage


The St. Petersburg Coliseum’s Big Band Ballroom Dancing on Feb. 11 at 7:30 will get you in the swing of things for romance month.  The tribute to Harry James and the Andrew Sisters is a BYOB with snacks and set-ups available.; 727-892-5202.


Tampa’s Gasparilla International Film Festival runs from March 2 – 9 and features short films, U.S. narrative feature and College Student Feature Film, International Features, Made in Florida and U.S. Documentary features plus other categories.  Sunset Cinema at Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach continues on the jumbo-sized screen Fri.-Sat. beginning at 6 pm.


4th Annual St. Petersburg Fine Art Festival:  Feb. 25-26 10 am– 5 pm This event in the North Straub Park adjacent to the Museum of Fine Arts – St. Petersburg features 120 of Florida’s and America’s top fine artisans and crafters, the mix including local, regional and national artists. These artisans weave a tapestry of exceptional art from exquisite works in painting, glass, mixed-media, ceramics, sculpture, photography, metalwork, digital art, fiber art, woodworking – and more.  Within each medium explore a diversity of styles, materials and creative vision.  Meet the artisans that create the work – they are all here!  Learn how they became artists and how your specific pieces were made.  If you do not find exactly what you want, consider commissioning a piece of art made expressly for you!  Know that many of these artisans are represented in America’s top museums and art galleries and in the most prestigious private collections.

Duncan McClellan Gallery: Featuring the work of one of Tampa Bay’s most distinguished artists, whose work can be seen at the Don Cesar and around town, the artist receptions always bring an eclectic crowd.

Duncan McClellan Gallery, 2342 Emerson Ave South; 855-436-4527.


The Dali Museum • Feb 11: Party prior to  Valentine’s Day for a special event featuring food, drinks and entertainment, amor and inspiracion. Eat, drink, drink, dance and tour the galleries. This all-inclusive inspired experience celebrates passion, obsession, infatuation, compulsion & fascination — the ingredients of love stories grand and small. Frida & Diego, Salvador & Gala, John & Yoko, Romeo & Juliet, you & yours. Enjoy Oyster wrapped in bacon with Cajun remoulade | Spicy and sexy goat cheese peppadew | Ahi tuna with mango salsa & pomegranate seed on a lotus chip | Brie and apricot tarts with fig jam | Avocado cucumber rolls | Chocolate-chili-dipped bacon | Fresh watermelon Salad | Lobster corndogs | Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus | Decadent desserts.  A special start to the evening, from 7-8pm, features a docent-led ProvocaTour plus private access to a “bubbly-bar” and chocolate-covered strawberries. Learn more:

  • Thru April 17 – Frida Kahlo at the Dali:

An exhibition of Frida Kahlo’s paintings & drawings, together with her personal photograph collection showcase her dreamlike work suggesting that love and suffering create a new sense of beauty. Kahlo’s art and storied life stir immense public interest.

The Dali and Beyond Film Series fatures the A&E biography of Frida Kahlo.

  • February – May 2017 – Dali/Duchamp: The father of surrealism and the papa

of conceptual art, this is the first exhibit dedicated to Dali and Duchamp’s friendship and influence on each’s art, showcasing 60 works and supplemented by correspondence and collaborative projects.

Museum of Fine Arts

Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Dr. NE 727-896-2667

  • Thru March 19: The Far North – Inuit Prints and Sculpture – These 30 works by accomplished Inuit artists spans the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Feb. 19-June 4: The Open Road- Photography and the American Road Trip: Nothing says spring break like this exhibition, a delightful journey through America’s kitschy landscapes.


Feb. 23-Feb. 28: Sunshine City Songwriters Festival: On Feb. 23 The Special Concensus Performs at the Craftsman House. This Grammy-nominated and International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awardwinners “Special C”.  Originating from the Midwest, they have been performing for over 40 years. Craftsman House, 2955 Central Avenue727-323-2787

Shades of Buble: The Canadian crooner isn’t here in person, but the three man tribute band will stir your heart. A great Valentine’s Day concert Feb. 10 @ 8 pm. Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center, 4951 78th Ave. 727-369-5746. pinellaspark.comCapitol Theatre  – Robert Earl Keen March 13 7:30 pm

This show is sure to sell-out! Known for hits like The Road Goes On Forever, Feelin’ Good Again and I Gotta Go, this singer-songwriter was virtually unknown by name until fellow Texas icon Joe Ely recorded both The Road Goes on Forever and Whenever Kindness Fails on his 1993 album, Love and Danger, the secret was out on Keen’s credentials as a songwriter’s songwriter.

The ’90s may have been a boom period for Keen but his momentum hasn’t ebbed a bit since the turn of the century – nor has his pursuit of continued growth as a writer and artist. His latest project released in 2016, Live Dinner Reunion, was a night celebrating 20th Anniversary of the very first recorded live show at the iconic John T. Floores Store in Helotes, TX. It was a magical night of friends coming together to play music before a sold out crowd of 5000 fans and celebrate 20th Anniversary of No. 2 Live Dinner. Special guests on the album are Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, Cody Braun of Reckless Kelly, Cody Canada, Cory Morrow and Bruce Robison. Also making special appearances were two former band mates who also played on No.2 Live, Bryan Duckworth and Mark Patterson.


St. Petersburg Museum of History Benefit Feb. 25 6 – 10 pm: Leave your black tie at home, dress in your finest Shuffleboard Chic and celebrate the Sunshine City in style! St. Pete’s official vintage-era Florida tourism celebration, the 2nd Annual Cocktails on the Courts. Enjoy Florida cuisine, unlimited cocktails, dancing under the stars to the incredible Black Honkeys, and even a mermaid and two-headed cow! St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, 559 Mirror Lake Drive North

Museum of Fine Arts

Culture & Cocktails Events: There’s always something fun going on with MFA, meshing cuisine, art, wine and movies in some unique way.

Mark your calendars for these events To buy tickets online –;  Email:, or call (727) 896-2667, ext 221.

  • Friday, Feb. 10 – 7:30 pm – Coastal Chic Party – Enjoy Florida Favorites, Craft Beer, Wine & Chocolate. Featuring The Mad Beach Band. Individual Ticket: $99. Location: MFA. Dressy Casual Attire.
  • Saturday, Feb. 11 – 7 pm – Paint the Town Red, White & Chocolate –Dinner and wine pairing by Chef Tyson of Parkshore Grill. Live and silent auctions.

Featuring The TomKats Jazz Orchestra. Individual Ticket: $300*. Location: MFA.

Cocktail Attire. • Saturday, Feb. 18 – 7 pm – 1000 Points of Wine Gourmet Dinner –Featuring Ten Robert Parker/Wine Advocate 100 Point Wines. Individual Ticket: $1,800.  Seating is limited. Location: The Rolls-Royce Tampa Bay Showroom. Dress to impress!

Brew-Ha Ha: Help raise money by drinking beer Feb. 17  7-10 pm at the Great Explorations Children’s Museum for A Night at the Brewseum where you can play like a kid again and compete against each other in various relays and games, while tasting the best craft beers in town. Challenge your friends at a game of nerf gun black jack, supermarket can stack (using only your elbows), tic-tac-toe beer pong and more! The team with the most points at the end of the event, wins a goodie bag with treats from your local favorites (and bragging rights of course)! We’ll also have live music, food for purchase,  1925 4th St N.

On Feb 23  6 pm Meet The Brewers at the Morean Arts Center for Clay: Making beer is an art and here you can enjoy unlimited sampling. Go big with the VIP-only hour from 6 pm to 7 pm where you can enjoy unlimited beer while you mix and mingle with your favorite brewers with a limited amount VIP – only attendees, unlimited beer sampling from 8 pm to 10 pm during GA hour, bites, & other VIP-only perks. Arts Center for Clay  420 22nd St. S., St. Petersburg


Studio@ 620

  • Wordier Than Thou, an open mic for storytelling, share prose or just catch tales from area wordsmiths.
  • In partnership with Keep St. Pete Lit there will also be a Poetry Open Mike Feb. 22, May 17, June 21, July 26, Aug. 23, Sept. 27 and Oct. 25

Coffee Talks with Nan Colton: Connect with performing arts legend who transforms into a an artist or historical figure for a 30-minute presentation that includes coffee and pastries at the Museum of Fine Arts beginning at 10 am.

On Feb. 10, she portrays the charitable wife of Thomas Edison; March 9 debuts the eccentric Daisy Makeig-Jones the designer of Wedgewood’s Fairyland Lusterware and on April 13, the legendary novelist Virginia Woolf as she sits for French painter Jacques Emile Blanche.

Happy Hour with the Historian: Sharing the stories of the Sunshine City for 95 years, the St. Petersburg Museum of History’s popular lecture series features an evening of wine, words and wisdom. The 2017 series kicked off its fifth year in January with a journey through a religious cult that believed the world is hollow, its leader would live forever and sex was forbidden. Run out of Chicago, the Koreshans discovered wealth, power and paradise in what is now Estero, Florida.

335 2nd Avenue NE on the Pier Approach; 727-894-1052;

  • March 9: Craig Pittman:   Oh, Florida – America’s Weirdest State
  • May 11: Lisa Bradberry:  Weedon Island’s Sunhaven Movie Studios
  • July 13: Peter Meinke:  

An Evening with Florida’s Poet Laureate

  • Sept 14: Bill Leavengood:  Doc Webb and his World Famous Webb’s City
  • Nov 9:  Lynn Waddell:  Fringe Florida


Oz lovers, take note. Wicked is at the Straz Center Feb. 1-26, and Forbidden Broadway’s romp and musical spoof continues through March 12. Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at the American Stage has been extended to the end of February due to popular demand.

On Feb. 16-20, Dangerous Gully is the latest concoction by local playwright , Joseph Alan Johnson ( Lovefool, Misconception) –a saucy tale of love and romance that pays homage to the fairy tales of our childhood with a modern twist at Studio@620.

At FreeFall Theater, Red Velvet opens Feb. 25 and runs through March 26. While this award-winning new play will transport you to Victorian London, the questions it raises about race, diversity and the role of the arts could not be more timely.  Acclaimed actor and director Sir Kenneth Branagh said of his production of Red Velvet: “I believe Lolita Chakrabarti has written an important and exhilarating play which in its discussion of performance, politics, and race is as entertaining as it is illuminating.” Listen to Sir Kenneth, and get your tickets now! You will be moved, challenged and thoroughly entertained.


Whether you have visitors or it’s a girls night out, these events are moving feasts, both visual and culinary. There’s always live music and never a dull moment.

Fourth Saturday Artwalk,  Pinellas Park’s Creative District, 5851 Park Blvd.

Gulfport Artwalk 1st Friday & 3rd Saturday  3101 Beach Blvd.S.,

St. Petersburg Second Saturday Artwalk 5-9 pm – Discover arts,crafts,bodacious brews & delicious bites.


Ringling College of Art & Design: The Glass Masters of Venice runs through March 25. Since 2010, Ringling College Curator Mark Ormond has worked with Sarasota arts patrons Richard & Barbara Basch to organize exhibitions from their extensive collection of glass art. Dr. and Mrs. Basch began collecting in 1993 by purchasing work American artists. They soon expanded the scope of their collection to include artists from around the world. This year’s exhibition at Basch Gallery will feature work by Davide Salvadore, a master glass artist from Murano, Italy, and his sons Marco and Mattia. Selected works by Lino Tagliapietra will be included in the exhibition. A series of artist talks and demonstrations will take place on the Ringling College campus throughout the exhibition.  Barbara Basch will offer docent tours of the exhibition on Wednesdays at 10:30 am. 2700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Welcome to St. Petersburg Art Alliance’s new 2017 Board of Directors:

Wayne Atherholt, Office of Cultural Affairs, City of St. Petersburg (ex-officio)’ Jeff Baker, Community Relations Duke Energy; Kara Behar, Exec. Director, Behar+Peteranecz: Architecture; Kristy Boss, Deputy General Counsel, Taylor Morrison; Brook Canfield, CPA, Senior Tax Accountant, Gregory, Sharer & Stuart; Paul Carder, Retired; Yael Kelley, Artist; Katie Healey, Financial Planning, HSNi; Lisa Letizio, Alison James Estates & Homes; Angela Bond Markus, Actress; Zachary Messa, Partner, Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel & Burns, LLP; Mary Anna Murphy, President, MAM Exhibit Design; Duncan McClellan, Duncan McClellan Glass Art Studio and Hot Shop Joseph Papich, Select Business Advisor, Wallace, Welch & Willingham; Judith Powers, Artist; David Ramsey, Managing Director, Raymond James & Assoc.; Jim Rolston, Artist and Owner, Red Zen Art Gallery;  Stacia Schrader, Branch Manager, Regions Bank; Richard Wood, COO, Eagle Datagistics. 

Art News Compiled by Nanette Wiser

The Morean Arts Center Turns 100

The Morean Arts Center, the first art gallery south of Atlanta, is turning 100!

Drawing inspiration from the past 100 years, the Morean has created and enhanced a variety of offerings to the community in the form of master artist workshops, elevated events, classes in a variety of mediums, hands-on programs and the opening of the new garden space at the Chihuly Collection now located at 720 Central Avenue.

What started as one location has transformed into several amazing arts experiences, reknown in the U.S. and winner of many kudos. “I have seen two decades of change and growth here. Expanding from 7th Street into the Train Station and the new Chihuly gallery has been in keeping with 100 years of service to the Arts in St. Petersburg,” says Valerie Scott Knaust, Director of the Morean Center for Clay.

History: The Morean Arts Center’s story started in the early 20th century when a group of local artists in need of a place to work, teach and display their art connected with the Florida Winter Art School.

The Art Club of St. Petersburg – the first art gallery south of Atlanta – settled into space provided by the Florida Art School in their building on Beach Drive.

As St. Petersburg and surrounding areas grew, so did the Morean Arts Center from its informal beginnings in 1917, to become an integral part of the country’s top arts destinations.

After several relocations and name changes, the Morean Arts Center settled at its current location on Central Avenue. Today, the Morean offers programs for all mediums, styles, skill levels and ages housed in four locations in downtown St. Petersburg. The locations include the Morean Arts Center, Chihuly Collection, Morean Glass Studio & Hot Shop and Morean Center for Clay.

At the end of a century of steady growth, the Morean Arts Center continues to provide a place for the arts in St. Petersburg. Staff, board members, artists, teachers and volunteers have witnessed the Morean Arts Center grow and become an institution where one can explore creativity and push boundaries.

Curator of Exhibitions, Amanda Cooper, has seen the Morean grow in her nearly 20 years as a staff member. “Being part of the Morean means approaching art in a way that is challenging and exciting, yet not intimidating,” said Cooper. “If you’re a local artist, we will be your champion. If you want to learn a craft, we’ll teach you skills in a welcoming atmosphere. If you see something you love in an exhibition, you can buy it and own it forever (or at the very least, touch it without anyone slapping your hand away).”

Cooper states, “The Morean has survived and thrived in this community for a century because it is a scrappy, risk-taking organization that adapts quickly to changing culture and the needs of the people we serve, all with a passion for art and a desire to share that passion with others.”

Chihuly Collection…In 2010, the Morean Arts Center opened a permanent display of Dale Chihuly’s unique installations in order to provide proceeds to support ongoing educational programming and exhibitions. The Chihuly Collection fired up local interest in glass art, and the Morean opened its own Glass Studio & Hot Shop to provide educational programs and demonstrations.

In October 2016, the Chihuly Collection moved to its new location at 720 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, Fla. 33701, in an effort to unite three of the four Morean Arts Center locations. ­Executive Director of the Chihuly Collection Andy Schlauch said, “The new location was re-imagined to allow guests the ability to experience the detail and creativity associated with Dale Chihuly’s work.”

The Collection boasts the return of the theater as well as an outdoor garden space set to open in early 2017. Included in the new space is also a temporary exhibition space to host rotating exhibits perfect for work from glass artists around the country. Admission also includes a demonstration at the Morean Glass Studio & Hot Shop directly across the street where visitors can witness a live glass-blowing demonstration conducted by local artists.

St. Petersburg is a “hot” commodity for the growing glass culture. The Chihuly Collection was at the forefront of the glass movement in the city and is proud to connect people with not only Dale Chihuly’s glass art, but art from national and local artists whose pieces find temporary homes in the Collection’s rotating exhibits, said Schlauch.

Education: To celebrate the artists who created the foundation of the Arts Center, master artist workshops were developed in 2016 and launched in 2017 to welcome back notable artists who have made an impact on the Morean and patrons alike. Some of these artists, including Sam Abell, Tom McCarthy and Joe Pintz, are bringing their talent back to the Morean to connect with old and new faces and help foster growth of the education program.

The Morean also offers seven different class session start dates in which teachers return for three to six weeks to teach classes in mediums such as drawing, painting, jewelry, glass, photography and digital, clay, print making, metal sculpture, and fiber arts.

Jonathan Harrison, Director of Education, said the education department looks for relevant and intriguing options for classes to attract a range of individuals in the community.

“Our teachers are artists themselves, and many have been with us for years,” said Harrison. “The fact that we can invite returning artists back to the Morean and also host our range of classes gives individuals multiple opportunities to find something that fits within their schedules, skill range and interests.”

In addition, the Morean continues to connect with its overall vision of becoming a national model for creative community engagement and economic development by offering free programs to connect individuals with art. These programs include Saturdays and Sundays at the Morean, a free program for families to drop in and create an art piece as a family, as well as programs such as Fall Art Frenzy, a themed, all-day event for families.

Exhibitions: This year, the Morean is hosting special exhibitions to highlight art and artists both new and returning.

Kicking off the 100th Anniversary in exhibitions is Major Mud 3 and The Journey: Photographs Along the Way, juried by Sam Abell. Sam Abell, known for his work with National Geographic, chose 32 pieces out of almost 400 to be displayed in the first exhibit of 2017. The work focuses not on the destination of a journey, but how you get there — A beautiful linkage to the Morean’s journey to 100 years and the milestones accomplished and surpassed throughout the century.  

The next exhibit, on display from March 11 – April 30, is Fresh Squeezed:

Emerging Artists in Florida. Amanda Cooper, curator of exhibitions at the Morean Arts Center, said there were more than 80 submissions and only six were selected. All artists are local to Florida, including the quirky and intriguing Brian Feldman who will be setting up shop in the Morean Arts Center’s gallery window in the form of an orange juice stand.

For the price of one guest’s drawing of a glass of orange juice, Feldman will make the guest his or her very own glass of OJ to enjoy inside the Morean. The wall behind Feldman is envisioned to be filled with drawings by the end of the exhibit. Immediately following Fresh Squeezed, the remaining exhibits displayed include 100 Years/100 Artists, 99th Annual Members Show, Street/Urban Art Showcase & Josette Urso Solo Show, and the 2017 Holiday Show & Sale.

Nurturing Young Artists: Educating children about the arts, and offering them access to gallery and exhibition space has been a key component of the Morean Arts Center’s mission throughout its 100 years in the St. Petersburg art community.

The Morean Arts Center continues its celebration of youth in art with 20 Years of Word & Image: Arts in Education Partnership. Students in Pinellas County are tasked with writing a few words as well as creating a piece of art to tie in with this year’s theme, “On My Block.”

Cooper said this exhibition is one of the best the Morean offers. “Most of these kids have never seen their art in a professional gallery before, and we give them the opportunity to see their works framed and displayed in a popular exhibit.”

Following Word & Image includes An Artistic Discovery: 36th Annual 13th Congressional District Art Competition and Let’s Create! 2017 Summer Camp Exhibition.

The Morean Center for Clay: located at 420 22nd Street South, St. Petersburg, Fla. 33712, hosts its own exhibitions in conjunction with the Morean Arts Center on Central Avenue. Currently, the Center for Clay is conducting its Florida Heat Woodfire workshop in which more than 1200 pieces are loaded into the anagama kiln to be fired continuously for three days. Directly following this workshop is the Florida Heat Surface workshop and gallery show. Both of these workshops are national, drawing participants and nationally recognized artists from almost every state in the country.

The Center for Clay’s exhibitions also feature works from Artists in Residence (AIRs), a program which allows applicants to present their work in hopes of gaining one of the six coveted spots in the program.

In exchange for various work duties at the facility, the AIRs are able to have studio space and access to some of the best equipment and gallery space to both expand and display their work.

Additional exhibitions at the Morean Center for Clay include a Joe Pintz Solo Show, Artist in Residence Exit Shows, Morean Center for Clay Members Show, NEW Artist in Residence Show, Jeremy Randall Solo Show and Wood Fire Workshop Gallery Show to close out 2017.

Events & Art  Happenings

To celebrate their 100th Anniversary, it will be a year-long amazing moveable feast and outrageous parties: Cocktails at the Collection, Night Blow at the Hot Shop, 100th Birthday Party: 7th Annual Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest, Eat Rich, Play Dirty, and a New Year’s event to celebrate the start of our second century of bringing arts to the community – Masque 100 – The Party of the Century set for December 31, 2017.

From these events, patrons can expect the normal – or not so normal – festivities the Morean is known for, only heightened. For example, The 100thBirthday Party: 7th Annual Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest is expected to exceed its normal attendance of more than 1500 people at the Morean Center for Clay as each cupcake station’s job is to make the Morean’s 100th birthday extra sweet!

With that in mind, Masque 100 was created as the culmination of the Morean’s 100th Anniversary and a send-off to celebrating the next century of the arts in St. Petersburg.

Masque 100 is an exclusive, elite and ticketed New Year’s Eve event where one can expect to be transported to a world of mystery, history and elegance. Ring in the New Year with some of Tampa Bay’s most notable individuals in a venue that also reflects almost 100 years of history.

Local Bay Vista Fundamental Student Gives Back to SPPD

“You even have queso!” The officer exclaimed in appreciation of the taco bar fixings spread on a center conference table that was typically used to discuss details of serious crimes. Today was a bright spot in what can be a dark and  intense world for Sergeant Kevin Haemmelmann and his team in the Major Crimes Unit of the St. Petersburg Police Department.

Savannah Walker, 9 year old Bay Vista Fundamental student, explained that her neighbor in St. Pete Beach and Shells Restaurant had donated the tasty cheese dip as part of her Taco Tuesday luncheon which now covered that same conference table. Fourth grader, Savannah Walker, put lunch together for the officers as part of an annual community service  project for school. Her motivation, she states so simply. “Can you imagine our world without them? There would be no one to fight the bad guys. “ So on Tuesday, January 10th, Savannah Walker, with the help of her mother, grandmother and numerous donors from the greater St. Petersburg community,  served the twenty plus detectives an elaborate taco bar for lunch in their office.

Savannah, a fourth grader, is required once a year by her Gifted Studies teachers, Darcy Webb and Lori Bjostad, to do a community service project.  The Walker family gladly embraces this annual project of giving, having done it with their two older children as well.  “They are creating a tradition of giving to the community you live in and instilling the tradition that you can make a very real difference. As  parents, we love seeing our kids get outside of themselves. They identify a need they are passionate about and we figure out a way to help them help others ,” says Savannah’s mother in praise of the Bay Vista Elementary tradition.

Savannah’s grandmother, Louise Redfearn, who recently relocated to the area from Utah jumped right in to help her granddaughter and added, “It was great to give back to people who give so much and to put a smile on their face when they work in a challenging line of work.” Savannah asked for taco bar donations in a short video that she posted on her  mother’s Facebook page.  “I raised $75 and people from all over St. Pete gave me ingredients for the bar.  I even had enough [money]to buy them a nice Publix cake!”  The family adds that the community seemed excited to give something small but very tangible to the officers.

The detectives seemed to not only enjoy the tacos and , but also truly enjoyed being appreciated by the community.  To this end, they thanked Savannah in a way that only they could.  On February 2nd, they pulled into her driveway in their armored vehicle with sirens and lights blaring.  The whole neighborhood gladly surrounded the vehicle in a surprise celebration as they presented Savannah with a plaque, purchased with voluntary donations from the unit, and bestowed her with the title of “Honorary Detective.” Later that evening, Savannah leaned in to her dad and asked, “ Can we do this every month?” The lesson learned, yet again, is that when one gives, one often gets quite a bit in return.


St. Pete Beach 60th Anniversary T-Shirts On Sale NOW

60th Anniversary T-shirts are on sale!! The city is selling commemorative shirts that also serve as a discount at some of your favorite places. Wear your shirt on the 2nd Friday of each month all this year and get the special promotion/discount that the sponsor is offering. Great shirts, Great Deals! Shirts are $20 for short sleeves and $25 for long sleeves and are on sale at the St Pete Beach Community Center. Call 727-363-9245 for more information.

Pitch in for Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup!

Saturday, March 18 from 9am – noon

Tampa Bay Watch, in partnership with Keep Pinellas Beautiful, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful & Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department, is recruiting volunteers to participate in the Great American Cleanup on Saturday, March 18 from 9am-noon. This event is family-friendly and open to all ages. The majority of the volunteers are needed on land, but you are welcome to bring a canoe or kayak.

Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup is the nation’s largest community improvement program taking place annually from March 1 through May 31, involving an estimated 2.8 million volunteers across the country. Tampa Bay Watch sees the cleanup as an important way to help clean up human-generated trash in the park as well as marine debris that floats onto the shorelines from Tampa Bay and Gulf of Mexico. 

Click on a site below to register today! 

Sunshine Skyway Fishing Piers, Fort De Soto Park, Tampa Bay Watch, Weedon Island Preserve, Coffee Pot Bayou in St. Pete for kayakers only, Palonis Park in Tampa, & Coquina Bayside in Manatee County

We also need one small support boat, like a skiff, to aid kayakers at the Coffee Pot site. Click here to email Rachel if you can volunteer your boat.