Beautiful Beasties

General Event Information

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Upcyled Sculptures of Microbes by Community Stepping Stones

June 25, 2013. Tampa, FL – The creativity of the Staff and Teens of Community Stepping Stones (CSS) will once again be featured by Hillsborough Community College Ybor Art Gallery, at the corner of Palm Avenue and 15th Street in Ybor City from July 8-31, 2013. There will be an opening reception for CSS’ newest show, “Beautiful Beasties,” on Thursday, July 11, 4:30-7:30pm and a Closing Reception on Tuesday, July 30.

“Beautiful Beasties” features fantastical, dynamic sculptures made from recycled materials that represent the life cycles of nature’s smallest aquatic creatures: phytoplankton and zooplankton. Frequently considered the base of the food chain, phytoplankton also produces half the oxygen on the planet. Much controversy has arisen among oceanographers who have observed that population of microscopic flora and fauna has declined significantly in recent years, due in large part to pollution and climate change. The motivation for this art exhibition is to bring attention to mankind’s role in this vital balance in our environment.

Community Stepping Stones (CSS) is a nonprofit, out-of-school learning center where visual arts are used as a pathway to help at-risk youth gain the academic, social, and job-preparatory skills necessary to become successful adults. In preparation for this exhibition, teen participants from Sulphur Springs received several months of classroom instruction and field expeditions led by Dr. Bridgette Froeschke, a microbiologist and oceanographer at USF’s Florida Center for Community Design & Research. The challenge came when students were asked to turn lab drawings into artistic interpretation. Under the guidance of CSS’ arts education staff, assisted by USF student mentors and community volunteers,teens were involved in creating a colorful, artistic interpretation of a magnified underwater panorama of life among microbial creatures.

“Teens who six months ago couldn’t tell you what phytoplankton was, can now explain photosynthesis. Now they can use their creativity to access the wonder of scientific processes,” says Sigrid Tidmore, Executive Director. Even the show’s name alludes to science: Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, considered the father of microbiology, called microorganisms “beasties” when he first saw them in 1654.

This exhibition is sponsored by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, the Steel Recycling Institute and Kimmins Contracting Corporation.

Beginning July 16, CSS will be opening a second environmental art exhibition two blocks away at the Children’s Board. “THINK eARTh” features an Enchanted Forest of “up-cycled creatures” created by 6-12 year old children at the Tampa Housing Authority.
CSS will host its own “gallery hops” on July 11, 16 and 30.

Learn more about CSS at


HCC Ybor Art Gallery
Corner of Palm Ave. & 15th St. in Ybor City
Tampa, FL 33605
United States
4202 East Fowler Avenue, TVB100, Tampa, FL 33620-6902 • © 2009 WUSF. All rights reserved.

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