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Friday, Dec 14, 2018
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HCC galleries open strikingly varied exhibits

Both Tampa campuses of Hillsborough Community College are hosting openings Thursday, but of very different kinds of exhibits. At the Ybor Art Gallery, local and international artist Theo Wujcik will exhibit recent works through June 10 in a show called "No U Turn." The show explores ways in which the famous artist continues to interpret the culture in which he lives. Wujcik combines contemporary images, symbols and patterns into his paintings to convey metaphor, humor and irony. The paintings in "No U Turn" focus on the artist's worries about global warming. In one painting, called "Deadly Cocktail," you get a sense of melting ice caps and a dimming sun. It is one of the paintings Wujcik showed in the international exhibit called "Melting Ice: A Hot Topic," a worldwide exhibit that opened in Oslo in 2007. The traveling exhibit was produced by the Natural Wonder Museum in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme and featured works by more than 40 international artists.
Since retiring from teaching at the University of South Florida in 2003, Wujcik, 76, paints full time in his studio in Ybor, a space in the heart of the neighborhood that he has occupied since 1987. Meet the artist and see this latest exhibit of his work at a free opening reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the gallery. A gallery talk by Wujcik will begin at 6:30 p.m. The gallery is on the first floor of the Performing Arts Building at Palm Avenue and 15th Street in Ybor City. Call gallery Director Carolyn Kossar at (813) 253-7674 with any questions. To see more of Wujcik's work, go to www.theowujcik.com. Meanwhile, Gallery 221 on the HCC North Dale Mabry campus is hosting an exhibit that falls at the other end of art's spectrum. Called "Sacred Folk," the exhibit presents more than 50 pieces of folk art by 20 Southeastern folk artists. The works were collected by Jeanine Taylor for her Folk Art Gallery in Georgia. Taylor and Gallery 221 Director Katherine Gibson selected the pieces for this exhibit. "Jeanine and I have been doing this for about 10 years," said Gibson. "In 2002 we jointly hosted an exhibit at the former Matthews Art Gallery in Tampa. There was a tremendous response to it. And we realized a lot of people in Tampa had an interest in folk art." Until now, Gibson never has exhibited any of the works in this show. "I don't ever bring the same work," she said. "I repeat artists but never their work, so that keeps it fresh for me, too." Some of the more familiar names you'll see in "Sacred Folk" include Butch Anthony, Michael Banks, Jerry Coker, Cornbread, Theresa Disney, Alyne Harris, Carl Knickerbocker, Anthony Pack, Missionary Mary Proctor, Jim Shores, Mose Tolliver and Ruby Williams. A video in the exhibit will share details of some of the artists' lives The public is invited to a free opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Gallery 221, on the second floor library in the Learning Resources Center on the HCC Dale Mabry Campus. For details, call Gibson at (813) 253-7386. An art exhibit in Carrollwood is also a fundraiser. Called "The Heart of the Art,' the show and sale feature works created by artistic residents of the Arden Courts Memory Care Community, a residential living facility for those with impaired memory. Many of the residents came to the community with known artistic talent, said marketing Director Taylor Penvose. "Others may not have been artsy in the past, but it's an activity that we've let them try and they are just amazing," she said Under the oversight of Activity Director Dawn Bersano, the residents have created tree ornaments, paintings, decorated wine glasses and more for the show, to be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday. Prices start at $5. "This is the first time we've done this, and we're hoping to make it a yearly benefit," Penvose said. Entertainment, drinks and hors d'oeuvres will be available to guests, who may buy an admission ticket for $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Proceeds benefit the University of South Florida Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute. To buy tickets, call (813) 963-6100, ext. 205; or email [email protected]. Arden Courts Memory Care Community is at 14950 Casey Road.

Special correspondent Esther Hammer can be reached at [email protected]

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