Third Annual MUSE Awards Recognizes Five Local “Muses”

MUSE will celebrate artistic inspiration on Friday, January 29 at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg at 7:30 p.m.  The third annual benefit for the arts will recognize the breadth and beauty of art and culture in our City of the Arts, and pay tribute to those that continue to inspire and guide St. Petersburg to its standing as an international arts destination.  Proceeds will benefit artists, arts education, and arts & cultural organizations through our Arts Alliance programs and services.

1. Steven Kenny — MUSE Visual Arts Award recognizes an artist or organization that has achieved excellence in the visual arts which include ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, glass-blowing, printmaking, design, crafts, photography, video, filmmaking and media arts.  


Steven Kenny’s oil paintings are reminiscent of the Old Masters while depicting a contemporary blending of the human figure with elements from nature.  During his 31-year artistic career, his paintings have been exhibited worldwide, garnered many awards, and can be found in private, corporate, and museum collections.  His home and studio are located in the newly established Artist Enclave of Historic Kenwood in St Petersburg.   Steven’s artwork, The Pinnacle is our featured poster. The Pinnacle depicts a moment of creative equilibrium. 

muse-city-theatre2. St. Petersburg City Theatre — MUSE Performance Arts Award recognizes an artist or organization that has achieved excellence in the performance art field to include music, dance, theater and/or interdisciplinary which is presented to an audience.

St. Petersburg City Theatre is a Classic Icon of Community Theatre. The oldest, continually operating community theatre in the state of Florida, City Theatre has set the bar for live community theatre excellence since 1925! City Theatre celebrated its 90th Anniversary in the fall of 2015 with a special exhibit on display at the St. Petersburg Museum of History. Commemorating this milestone, while turning the gaze toward the future, City Theatre remains committed to keeping the arts and arts education alive and in the community.

muse-pruitt3. J. Crayton Pruitt Foundation — MUSE Patron of the Arts Award recognizes an individual or couple who, with their time and treasure, generously supports charities, organizations, and/or individuals that work in or concern the arts.

The J. Crayton Pruitt Foundation, in honor of the late J. Crayton Pruitt, made a leadership gift to the Warehouse Arts District, enabling their board to purchase land and establish the ArtsXchange.  This transformational gift establishes the ArtsXchange, where artists and the arts they create will serve as a catalyst for economic and urban development.  “The J. Crayton Pruitt Foundation, along with many other organizations and individuals, is eager to support the exciting growth of St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area. It is an honor given to my siblings and me by our father, Crayton Pruitt, to be able to help and encourage others through our foundation.  We are humbled to be recognized with this Muse Award and thrilled to be among such inspiring people so generous of spirit.”   -Helen Wallace, Natalie Judge, Crayton Pruitt, Jr.

muse-mcdole4.  Maureen McDole — MUSE Literary Arts Award recognizes an artist or organization that has achieved excellence in the written word in fiction or non-fiction, poetry or prose, print or digital formats.

Maureen McDole is the author of two poetry books, “Exploring My Options” and “Longing for the Deep End.”

In 2013 she co-founded Keep St. Pete Lit, which celebrates and promotes greater St. Petersburg’s literary community – past, present and future – through arts, education and events with a literary twist. “We are readers, writers and lovers of words who strive to bring an approachable, engaging literary component to St. Petersburg’s vibrant arts community.”  

Maureen states, “I believe wholeheartedly in the power of literature to save the world. This inspired me to co-found Keep St. Pete Lit as a vehicle to spread literary love around our community. It inspires me to put pen to page and write everyday. Reading and writing saves lives; I know because it saved mine. If Keep St. Pete Lit can be a catalyst to creativity and healing in people’s lives through literature, what’s better than that?

muse-laford5.  Ya La’ford — MUSE Arts Ambassador Award recognizes a beloved St. Petersburg artist (of any discipline) who is a stellar representative of the “City of the Arts” to the world.

Ya La’ford is a professor, visual painter, installation artist, muralist and community advocate.  In her practice, she explores human interconnectivity, community, evidence, and manipulation.  Her artistic practice is a quest to find a universal language, a true community advocate that merges her art practice to impact and creates community change.    Most recently her artwork was included in Miami Art Basel, Harlem Art Flux; Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum; An 85-foot mural in a tunnel for the Shine Mural Festival, Asia Contemporary and Jamaica Biennial, and the Tropicana Stadium in collaboration with Rays Up for kids.

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