"Tillandsia and Lichens," a watercolor by Lynne Railsback in SKYWAY at the MFA.

Four Museums, Five Counties, One SKYWAY

“Awareness 41” by Clearwater-based artist Bassmi Ibrahim is at the MFA.

SKYWAY is a miracle of collaboration, not least because this huge survey of local art, now in its second iteration, had to be postponed from 2020 till now because of Covid. Internationally known curator Claire Tancons teamed with curators at the four participating museums to choose work by artists in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties, meaning that visitors will be exposed to a wide sampling of some of the most compelling art being created in our area today.

Akiko Kotani, Red Falls, 2021. crocheted polyethylene. dimensions variable. Photo credit: Brian James. Kotani is among the artists in the USF CAM segment of SKYWAY.

The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg was first out of the gate (May 22-Aug. 22) with a scintillating, thought-provoking show of 15 artists who address, by varied means, the natural environment. SKYWAY shows at the three other collaborating museums begin today with the Tampa Museum of Art (June 3-Oct. 10), followed by the USF Contemporary Art Museum (June 14-Sept. 1) and the Ringling in Sarasota (June 20-Sept. 26).

Of special note at the MFA: In addition to SKYWAY, two fascinating shows are on view. Antioch Reclaimed showcases the gorgeously restored, centuries-old mosaics that were the first shipment of art received by the museum in 1964, and tells the extraordinary, Indiana Jones-worthy tales behind their excavation (through Aug. 22). And From Margins to Mainstays features works by photographers (and subjects) who were marginalized because of gender, race, sexuality or nationality but in many cases rose to become giants in their field (through Sept. 26).