New Florida CraftArt Exhibit Features Works Highlighting the Diversity of Contemporary Books | Deviations

ST. PETERSBURG — Florida CraftArt will present “Beyond Words: Celebrating Books as Art,” June 10 through July 30 at 501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

“Beyond Words: Celebrating Books as Art” is a juried exhibition showcasing quality handcrafted works by 36 artists from Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. The diversity of contemporary books as art is highlighted by the 75 pieces on display at Florida CraftArt.

“This exhibition celebrates the book as art through a diverse collection of inventive works. that challenge preconceived ideas about what a book is and can be,” said Cindy Bartosek, the exhibition’s curator. “For an artist, the “book” can be a means of artistic expression. It is a space to experiment with innovative combinations of images, text and formats to tackle topics ranging from politics to poetry, from fantasy to deeply personal narratives that explore and communicate important themes and visual ideas. in a very individual way, limited only by the imagination of the manufacturer.

Cindy Bartosek of Palm Beach is the curator of Beyond Words: Celebrating Books as Art.

According to Bartosek, each book represents a personal story and is a reflection of cultural heritage or international sensibilities.

“There are thought-provoking pieces and conversation starters about social justice and the state of global issues,” she added. “Some are pieces that stretch the imagination or tell of personal joys and sorrows; others remind us of the beauty and wonder of the world around us and its perils. Others push book structure beyond everyday expectations, challenging our preconceptions of what a book is and can be.

The exhibition is made possible through the sponsorship of Elizabeth Reilinger, the City of St. Petersburg, and the Florida Department of State’s Division of Arts and Culture. Guided tours are available on request.

Showing in the exhibit are Florida artists Robert Barancik, St. Petersburg; Barbara Beyhl, St. Petersburg; Kim Borowy, Tequesta; Harry Bower, Dunedin; Karen Brown, Tampa; Bonnie Bruner, Lake Worth; Lisa Co, Gainesville; June Colburn, Largo; Mary Correa, Lakeland; Neverne Covington, St. Petersburg; Liliana Crespi, Port St. Lucie; Christine Di Staola, Clearwater; Lauren Dykes, Tampa; Melissa Fair and Emily Hashagen, Tampa; Judy Flescher, Palm Beach Gardens; Eric Folsom, Gulfport; Kristina Gintautiene, Holidays; Carla Golembe, Delray Beach; Mary Grieco, St. Petersburg; Kally Harvard, St. Petersburg; Andrea Huffman, Sunrise; Kianga Jinaki, Riviera Beach; Jack King, Tampa; Ryan Lutz, Cape Coral; Elizabeth Neily, Gulfport; Polly Perkins, St. Petersburg; Rose Marie Prins; Saint PETERSBOURG ; Stephen Sidelinger, Venice; Rebecca Skelton, St. Petersburg; Shelly Steck-Reale, St. Petersburg; Jacob Wan, Orlando; and Kathy Wood, Port Charlotte.

In addition, the following foreign artists contributed to the work included in the exhibition: Kathy Arrowood Oates, Kingsport, Tennessee; Rima Day, Thompsons Station, Tennessee; and Helen Ensign, East Point, Georgia.

Florida CraftArt has scheduled several programs and events in conjunction with this exhibit:

• Sunday, June 12, 2 p.m. — Artist talk, featuring Barbara Beyhl, Mary Correa, Christine Di Staola, Melissa Fair, Eric Folsom, Emily Hashagen, Kristine Gintautiene and Kally Harvard.

• Tuesday, June 28, 5:30 p.m. — Author Deb Carson will give a multimedia presentation based on her book, “Becoming FLO, A Mostly True Story”

• Saturday, July 30, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. — “One Sheet Wonders: Folded Books from One Sheet of Paper”, a workshop with curator Cindy Bartosek

• Saturday, July 30, 4 p.m. — Artist talk with Karen Brown, Lauren Dykes, Mary Grieco, Andrea Huffman, Kianga Jinaki, Elizabeth Neily, Polly Perkins and Rebecca Skelton; and closing reception.

Zoom links will be available at or the Florida CraftArt Facebook page.

Florida CraftArt is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit or call 727-821-7391.

Florida CraftArt is a non-profit organization founded in 1951 and based in St. Petersburg. Its mission is to grow the creative economy statewide by engaging the community and advancing Florida fine art artists and their work. Fine craftsmanship is featured in its 2,500 square foot Florida Artist Gallery and curated exhibitions are featured in its adjacent Exhibit Gallery. Florida CraftArt is the only statewide organization offering artists a platform to show and sell their work.