You can’t have a vibrant downtown without art, says Lina Teixeira, and she’s totally right. Lina, for the art-uninitiated, is a local artist/designer specializing in wearable art. She is most well-known for her enthusiastic participation in DFAC’s annual Wearable Art event. But lately, she’s been hard at work on another project: the revitalization of downtown Clearwater.
Last weekend, the Dali Museum hosted a special, members-only event: A VIP tour of downtown Clearwater’s art galleries, with local food & drink at each stop.
During the tour, we heard from a slew of city officials and artists, including Lina Teixeira, Mayor George Cretekos and City Councilman Bob Cundiff. All spoke passionately about the revitalization of downtown Clearwater and the role of the arts in this revitalization.
We started our tour at Lina Teixeira’s new Studio 617 on Cleveland Street. Lina curated her studio, with the help of Pierre Dutertre, specifically for the event. In addition to featuring some of Lina’s wearable art designs, the walls were adorned with fine art photography.
A table in the center of the room displayed the artwork of Nicole Stott, retired NASA astronaut (and aquanaut) and Clearwater High alumnus.
Outside the gallery, there was a chalk drawing of the Clearwater Memorial Causeway by Matt McAllister.
After spending about an hour at Galleria Teixeira, Lina walked us to the next gallery, pointing out new businesses along the way. First up was La Fondita de Leo, a Puerto Rican restaurant that opened at 528 Cleveland Street in 2015. Then we walked past Pour Yours, Lina’s new wine bar at 522 Cleveland Street. Next up: the not-yet-open Black Brick Tavern + Kitchen at 432 Cleveland Street, right next to Grind House Coffee. Then downtown anchor, Tony’s Pizzeria & Ristorante, at 428 Cleveland Street. And finally, we were at Marlene Rose’s gallery at 416 Cleveland Street, right next to the new Clear Sky on Cleveland.
Marlene Rose Gallery
Marlene Rose opened her Cleveland Street gallery in September 2015. Marlene’s work is a combination of sculpture and glass that is hard to describe. In one corner of the gallery, she has displayed the tools of her trade alongside a poster describing the process of cast glass sculpture. It looks complicated, but the results are beautiful.
The gallery is full of these glass sculptures. Some are inspired by African culture, some by Asian culture, and some by other things.
Outside the gallery, there is another Clearwater-themed chalk drawing done specifically for this event.
We spend another hour here, munching on Italian salad from Tony’s and appetizers from Clear Sky. Then it’s time to walk over to the final gallery on our list: Second Century Studio.
Second Century Studio
Walking up to Second Century Studio, we notice the third chalk drawing right way – a drawing of an orchid by Truman Adams.
Second Century Studio is a city-owned gallery that opened at 331 Cleveland Street in September 2017. The gallery has two purposes: (1) to promote local artwork and (2) to highlight urban planning initiatives.
Right now, everyone’s talking about Imagine Clearwater, a plan to redevelop the downtown waterfront. Architectural drawings canvas the walls of Second Century Studio with proposed plans for Clearwater’s downtown. The rest of the gallery is filled with local art, including Amy Landesberg’s Pasti Plast, and several works from Bazaar Art, an art co-op led by Jennie Pearl.
President of the Clearwater Arts Alliance, Beth Daniels spoke to us about public art projects in the city of Clearwater and the city’s efforts to catalog them all. You can now access a cultural map of Clearwater either online or via Second Century Studio that lists all the galleries, studios, public art, and performing arts centers in the city of Clearwater.
The Bottom line: Clearwater’s got culture. It may not be as much culture as St. Pete, but not every city can host their own Dali museum. The beach was enough reason for me to love Clearwater, but with these new downtown additions, I have to say I’m loving Clearwater even more. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have even considered taking my out-of-town guests to downtown Clearwater — it was always straight to the beach — but that’s about to change. I can’t wait to take my friends and family to see the new restaurants and galleries in downtown Clearwater. Maybe afterwards, we can see a concert in Coachman Park or at the Capitol Theater.