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A vacation for the mind

Summer means vacation, and vacation can be many things. It's a time to get away, or a chance to take youngsters to new experiences. Through photographs, it can be a vicarious trip to a distant land.

By MARY ANN MARGER, Times Art Critic

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 23, 2000

Here are a few suggestions to enhance your vacation through current offerings in bay area art:

Airport Public Art Program

  • WHERE: Tampa International Airport

  • WHEN: Always open; Wujcik installation through Aug. 31; Florida Craftsman display through Aug. 29.

  • COST: Free (charge for parking in airport garage)

  • INFORMATION: (813) 870-8707

Florida Craftsmen's works take flight in a show at Tampa International Airport.

TAMPA -- The display of art at Tampa International Airport should encourage you to arrive for your flight early. It can even make a delayed flight almost palatable.

Florida Craftsmen has installed "Tactile Visionaries," a temporary show along the corridor between the transfer level and the Marriott Hotel. Set off individually in a row of handsome glass cases are superb examples of work by Florida's fine crafts artists including Bonnie Seeman, Al Zimmerman, Chuck Boux, Mary Klein, Vincent Sansone, Larry Miller, John Mascoll, Rebecca Gifford, Barbara Grodin and Benjia Morgenstern. Curating the show is Florida Craftsmen's director, Michele Tuegel. Free brochures call attention to Florida Craftsmen's forthcoming programming at its St. Petersburg gallery and also at CraftArt, an outdoor show in Tampa Oct. 28-29.

More esoteric is Theo Wujcik's exhibit in the rotunda of Airside A, of four works from his "Barking Dogs/Millennium" series and a fifth done earlier. Wujcik is a leading bay area artist, master printer at Graphicstudio and teacher at the University of South Florida. Ken Rollins, director of the Gulf Coast Museum of Art in Largo, selected the works in anticipation of Wujcik's retrospective there Sept. 8-Nov. 5.

A repeated motif used by Wujcik is chain links, often enlarged and abstracted, sometimes containing separate bits of visual information than the rest of the work. The barking dog, a threatening image in itself, can also sound a warning. The image can be as raucous as the imagined sound.

The works are part of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Rotating Art Program, coordinated by Brenda Geoghagan. Augmenting them are works on permanent display, including Tampa artists Duncan McClellan's World Traveler, a handblown glass vessel mounted on a turntable; West Palm Beach artist Richard Frank's watercolor Off Doolin; and Tarpon Springs artist Elizabeth Indianos' mixed media nine-panel work, Birds Leaving the Earth.

Artful Truth: Healthy Propaganda Arts Project

  • WHERE: Tampa Museum of Art, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa.

  • WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday through Aug. 13

  • COST: Adults $5; seniors $4; students with ID and children 6-18 $3. Admission by requested donation 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. to noon Saturday

  • INFORMATION: (813) 274-8130 or Web site athttp://www.tampamuseum.com

  • Youngsters can better understand the influence of propaganda in the "Artful Truth" at the Tampa Museum of Art.

TAMPA -- If you're bringing youngsters to the Tampa Museum of Art's show, "underCURRENT/overVIEW," or to one of the museum's summer programs, you'll want to introduce them to "Artful Truth" on the museum's lower level.

More than an art show, "Artful Truth" is a chance to help youngsters study the effects of propaganda and tobacco. Yes, there's an obvious connection between the two.

The show is part of a project that involved children in grades four through six in 50 programs throughout the state. Conducted by the Wolfsonian-Florida International University (Miami Beach), it is funded by the Florida Department of Health's Office of Tobacco Control.

Through the project, students learned to recognize the manipulative power of visual communication. Teachers were encouraged to use hands-on activities and to take creative approaches, enabling youngsters to express their own attitudes toward tobacco use.

In The Death of Key West, students there fashioned a skeleton climbing out of three cigars. Other projects include interviews of the elderly and rewritten fairy tales.

Adults can reinforce the lessons of this exhibit by helping children evaluate advertising of other products.

Spotlight on the Photography Collection: Cultural Excursions through Nineteenth Century Europe

  • WHERE: Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg

  • WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday through Oct. 29

  • COST: $6; 65 years of age and older, $5; students older than 6, $2; under 6 free

  • INFORMATION: (727) 896-2667

Travel back in time to 19th century Europe with intriguing photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts.

ST. PETERSBURG -- Photographs from 19th century Europe provide a vicarious trip through time and space at the Museum of Fine Arts.

The works are mostly from the permanent collection and honor a recent gift from Tampa art collector William K. Zewadski. Also on view are works from the museum's significant permanent collection of photography and a few works borrowed from another well known area collection, that of Dr. Robert and Chitranee Drapkin.

Black and white is not a limitation here. Instead it reveals contrasts and subtleties open to romantic interpretation. Ancient arches in remote surroundings and churches in cities far from the tourist route offer tantalizing architectural detail. A view of the Acropolis is certainly recognizable, though it little resembles its appearance either in Athens' Golden Age or as restored today.

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