St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman evaluated nearly 40 individual art works created by local artists for the Pelican Proud exhibition currently running in the pop-up gallery space of The Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg. For the Mayor’s Choice Award, Kriseman selected A New Glide Path, created by St. Petersburg artist Dean Fortune.
In January 2020 the Pelican, amazing, sometimes awkward, and omnipresent was designated the official bird of the City of St. Petersburg. The Mayor, who was reported to have had his mind made up after reviewing the online gallery, was challenged again when he saw the collection in person. Impressed by the quality and diversity of the Pelican interpretations, he deliberated another 45 minutes while a small group of Morean staffers waited from a six-foot set-back while wearing masks.
Welcomed by the Morean Executive Director, Howayda Affan, the Mayor cut a white feather festooned ribbon to officially open the art show. “We are proud of this City and how resilient we are in the face of adversity. There is no better way to illustrate that than by delivering on the Morean’s mission of connecting people with art,” says Affan. “This exhibition celebrates the symbol of our City and the local artistic talent we have in this ‘City of the Arts.’”
Pelican Proud features metal and clay sculptures, ceramic tile, prints and a number of paintings featuring Pelicans. All of the pieces in the exhibition are for sale. The Exhibition also inspired Roy Peter Clark to compose a song inspired by Dixon Merritt’s pelican limerick. Mr. Clark recited the Dixon Merritt poem and was joined by his wife Karen at the opening ceremonies.
The Free galleries of the Morean Arts Center are open from 10 am to 5 pm, Monday thru Saturday, and from 12 noon to 5 pm on Sundays. In addition to purchasing exhibited artwork, visitors may purchase locally made art in the Morean Arts Center Gift Shop.
There is also a FREE exhibition of Fresh Squeezed 4, emerging Florida artists addressing the themes of finding one’s connection to place and a sense of belonging, as well as addressing the challenge of stereotyping roles on display at the Morean Arts Center.
In the heart of the warehouse arts district, the FREE galleries of the Morean Center for Clay are currently featuring the exit shows of two 2019-20 Artists in Residence. Jonah Fleeger grapples with social divides in That’s So Jewish; and Katie Fee and Daniel Lloyd Miller explore quarantine-imposed meditations on navigating the turbulent waters of the storm when we are not all in the same boat In the Garden.