These are by no means "best of", just the shows that stand out in my memory from 2015. It was a rich year for the Arts in the Bay Area. The gallery bleedout stopped, new galleries opened, and the scene regained strength. Pinellas County weaseled for another year on Arts Funding, but St. Pete increased its involvement, with the SHINE festival as its most visible effort. 2016 holds great promise for the arts. Things will be better, though still recovering.
Venture Compound, "Purgatory in Paradise", by Emily Miller. A performative installation that mimiced a religious service/Mass with scantily clad priestesses, pews, a service, and sacrament of Jello shots and candy cross lollipops. Extraordinary energy, inventiveness and provocative.
Suzanne Camp Crosby's "Assembly Required" a fabulous retrospective of this photographer's work at HCC Ybor..
Softwater Studios, Emily Miller's portrait show. Her last painting show before departing for NYC. An in-depth series intensely exploring the portrait form.
"Pound and a Bear Hug" SHINE mural artists (and others) in a show that brought the best of St. Pete to Tampa.
The Museum of Fine Arts 50 years of Photography Show. Eclectic, big, inconsistent, yet stellar. Jennifer Hardin's parting show from the MFAs collection was nothing short of spectacular.
The Charles Axt show at Gallerie 909. One of St.Pete's Cultural Treasures.
Leave a Message, at the Morean Arts Center brought the SHINE muralists together in one show.
Kenny Jensen's solo show at the Studio @ 620. Brilliant, over the top in the best of ways, and his performance involved the audience with near-blinding energy.
Steven Kenny's Alleys of St Pete show at ARTicles, unexpected urbanscapes bordering on the banal. A real surprise from one of our best surrealists.
Nathan Beard at the Rialto. A solo show that rocked.
The Voodoo show @ Florida Craft Art, curated by Mindy Solomon, religious, dark, powerful, alien.
"Where the Grass is Green and the Girls are Pretty", work by the photographic collective Fountain of Pythons, at Tempus, curated by Danny Olda, the Bay Area's top freelance curator.. Like all clubby shows, inconsistent, but the good was extraordinary.
"Yes & No", works by Kirk Ke Wang at Cass Contemporary,
"My Generation" at both Tampa Museum of Art and Saint Pete's Museum of Fine Art.
Michael Covello's "The Road" at HCC Gallery 221 (Dale Mabry Campus).
"Exquisite Corpse", by Ann-Marie Cash Levasseur at the MFA. Each work by three artists, each of whom had no idea who the others were, Or what they had contributed. Improbably complex, yet it worked amazingly well.
"Marks Made" Women's Prints from the MFA collection. Curated by Katherine Pill.