When Taylor Swift plays The Forum on Thursday, it will be the first show in the United States on her "Fearless 2010" tour, and her first U.S. show since racking up four Grammys in January (including album of the year for "Fearless").
The tour runs through June, with the last stop at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. Every show save one (in Baton Rouge, La.) is sold out, according to Swift's Web site.
So what do you give the girl with a massive hit, Grammys, a new house in Nashville and millions of adoring fans? Apparently, a portrait done by artist Peter Max is not a bad place to start.
Max - still going strong at 72 - has an exhibit this weekend at Michael Murphy Gallery in Tampa. When he learned he would be in town the same week as Swift, he offered to do a portrait of her for our cover. Considering the number of magazine covers he's done, plus all those portraits of President Obama, the Statue of Liberty - well, it was a no-brainer for us.
Max didn't want to do it without Swift's permission, but that was a no-brainer for her, as well.
Told of the idea while flying to Los Angeles for the Grammys, Swift "was thrilled," according to spokeswoman Paula Erickson. Since Swift just turned 20 in December, we were curious about how she would know that much about Max, who rose to prominence in the 1960s.
Swift explained it to us this week after we sent her an image of the painting.
"When I was growing up, my family spent our summers in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, and I remember there was this art gallery on 96th Street," she said. "I used to walk past it and stop in my tracks whenever there was a Peter Max painting on display - I think I was 8or 9 the first time I saw one of his paintings.
"The colors were so vibrant and beautiful! His art is like another world to me, and I can't even explain how much it means to me that he did my portrait."
Swift picked the photo for Max to use for his painting, choosing the cover of "Fearless." Max will exhibit the painting at his show this weekend along with many more paintings. But the Swift portrait is not for sale; plans call for Max to give the painting to Swift.
WITH: Kellie Pickler
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: The Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa
COST: Sold out