American Style Magazine recently voted St. Petersburg the top mid-sized city for art for the third impressive year in a row. Move over Miami, St. Pete has arrived. And with the imminent opening of MicheleTuegel Contemporary on Central Avenue, the city can add another gold star to its art crown.
The new downtown gallery of fine craft and design is the dream and hard work of long-time arts advocate, administrator and artist, Michele Tuegel. There are not many people who, over the years, have been bigger advocates for art than Michele.
In 1984, while working at the old Gulf Coast Art Center in Belleair, she staged the first Florida Craftsmen statewide exhibition. Two years later Michele opened the inaugural Florida Craftsmen Gallery on Third Street downtown. And two years later, in 1986, she began her long run as that organization’s first Executive Director.
Florida Craftsmen gained national exposure during Michele’s directorship and now has a major home and gallery on Central Avenue. Michele was not content to stay idle after leaving Florida Craftsmen, and worked for several years as an integral part of the Pinellas County Arts Council.
Running her own gallery seemed like the next logical step for such a tireless arts cheerleader. Many in the community would say; “What took you so long?” Michele’s answer could be that she was saving up for a flashy red convertible and trip to Japan. Now those bucket list items will have to wait.
There will be two openings at the Gallery, Friday, October 12, 3 pm-8 pm and Saturday, October 13, 6 pm-9 pm. Michele Tuegel Contemporary is at 320 Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg. (727) 823-1100.
(photos courtesy Cathy Lasky, firstname.lastname@example.org)