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May 25, 2021

Axios Tampa Bay

Good morning, friends. Welcome to Tuesday.

🌤 Warmer this week. High of 92 inland today, cooler on the coasts. We could see some rain this weekend.

A year ago today: George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police. But momentum behind police reform has stalled in the city. Read the story from our Axios Local colleagues in the Twin Cities.

Today's newsletter is 925 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Prepare to be unsettled in Sarasota

Robert Colescott, 1919, 1980, acrylic on canvas, 71 3/4 x 83 7/8 inches, © 2021 The Robert H. Colescott Separate Property Trust / Artists Rights Society, New York. Photo: Joshua White

The Sarasota Art Museum wants you to get uncomfortable.

What's happening: Two new exhibits tackle issues like racial inequality, class structure, and privilege.

Starting this weekend, the museum will hold the first retrospective of works by American painter Robert Colescott.

The intrigue: The museum's curators know Colescott's paintings pull in the eyes with vibrant colors like cotton-candy-pink and Heinz-mustard-yellow, then make you quickly want to turn away with the use of crude stereotypes.

  • That's why they love them. Although Colescott's work has drawn criticism for decades, curators Lowery Stokes Sims, Matthew Wesley and Raphaela Platow argue that his art shocks people into dealing with issues generally unspoken about.
  • "I think people need to understand that while (Colescott) seems facetious, he's deadly serious," Sims said at a media showing of the exhibit.

If you go: Look for Selene's favorite piece, "Tin Gal."

Charles McGill, Shredded Quilt II, 2016, reconfigured golf bag parts on panel, 72 x 72 x 6 in. Photo: Jenny Gorman / courtesy of the Estate of Charles McGill.

What else: With Colescott's are works by Charles McGill, who molds vintage golf bags into critiques of white supremacy in the sport.

  • Shredding the bags and shaping them into images like Klansmen is no easy task, museum spokesman Rich Schineller noted. The sturdy leather bags, like privilege, are meant to last a lifetime, not be taken apart. And they're too heavy for the owner to carry.
Samo Davis, Happiness in ROYGBIV, 2021, plastic, pom-poms, resin, yarn, clay, recycled materials. Photo: Samo Davis

Plus: When you walk into the museum, you'll see a rainbow tree sprouting from the lobby, the work of the museum's graphic designer Samo Davis. It's the manifestation of her imagination sparked by staying inside during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • As a child, Davis had so many allergies she wasn't allowed to play in nature. But indoors she found her love of sewing and sculpture.

Details: "Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott," "Charles McGill: In The Rough" and "Happiness in ROYGBIV" will be shown starting Saturday.

  • Entry to the museum is free the first Sunday of every month.
2. Piney Point research shows natural correction

Since April 7, the USF research team has collected water samples, surface sediments and fish from Tampa Bay and Port Manatee. Photo: USF

USF College of Marine Science researchers who have been studying the old Piney Point phosphate plant wastewater discharges say the effects were localized, not widespread.

Why it matters: After emergency crews pumped millions of gallons of polluted water from the retired plant's holding pond, which had sprung a leak and threatened to flood nearby homes, many were concerned about the effects on plants and animals in the Tampa Bay ecosystem.

  • But, but, but: Researchers found that "concentrations of nutrients have declined over time and are now more typical of those in the historical record for this part of Tampa Bay," the university announced Monday.
  • The initial algae bloom visible in satellite imagery has now dissipated, the researchers said.

What's next: Researchers still wonder about longer-term impacts of the discharges and the nutrient cycling in response to a rapid influx of wastewater and will continue to monitor the situation.

3. The Pulp: Take another little pith of my heart now, baby

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🚌 Hillsborough County schools are looking to hire 180 bus drivers and starting pay is $14.57 per hour. (Bay News 9)

🚨 Tampa police are searching for several people captured on surveillance video who may have more information about a non-fatal shooting on the Riverwalk early Saturday. (FOX13)

🧯 Polk County Fire Rescue promoted veteran Jennifer Huff to become its first female deputy chief. (WFLA)

🏦 Developers have secured a $71.5 million loan to fund the construction of Brandon Town Center, which will include 660 townhouse-style apartments and 75,000 square feet of commercial space. (Tampa Bay Business Journal)

🌊 The organism that causes red tide is still lingering at elevated levels in waters around Manatee County, including near Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. (Bradenton Herald)

Quote du jour:
"I wanted to take it with me. My mother said, 'You can't,' and I never, ever really got over that. That was the first loss I ever experienced. I'm an old lady now, and to this day I can't get over the (Teddy) bear I had to leave behind. Is that weird?"
— Eva Lichtenberg of Citrus County, who fled her German birthplace in 1945, during World War II
4. What floats your boat?

Classic schooner jib sails on the left, and modern Marconi sails on the right. Credit: Florida Department of Transportation

FDOT says it wants your opinion on new aesthetic features located along overlooks and on each side of the reshaped Howard Frankland Bridge.

  • Your choices? Schooner sails or ... Marconi sails. Take a look and tell us what you think.

Ben's thought bubble: This seems frivolous enough to be suspicious.

5. What we're eating: Part Time Lover from 7th + Grove

The Part Time Lover from 7th + Grove. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

👋 Ben here: I finally got out to 7th + Grove at Sparkman Wharf and was just smitten by this delicious sandwich called the Part Time Lover.

  • It's a creamy deviled egg mix (what my Okie mama calls "egg salad") with substantial sliced peppercorn bacon, lettuce and tomato. We always had it on white bread, but the roll works in mysterious ways.

Grab an extra napkin or two.

BTW: Selene and I pay for all meals, dine incognito, and we don't accept gifts or freebies.

  • Axios pays us to be curious (what a job!) So when we plug something here, it's because we've found it on our own and think you might like it.
6. 🌝 See the Super Flower Blood Moon

A blood moon after a lunar eclipse as seen in Mechelen, Belgium, in 2019. Photo: Jasper Jacobs/AFP via Getty Images.

Set your alarm for 5:30am tomorrow to catch the only total lunar eclipse of this year.

  • The Super Flower Blood Moon will be visible in the western sky. If you can't catch a view, here's a livestream. But this is a good opportunity to see if any of your neighbors are werewolves.

What's in a name? The full moon of May (dubbed the Flower Moon) will appear red (hence the "blood") as it passes through Earth's shadow, according to Space.com. At the same time, the moon will reach the closest point to Earth in its orbit, making it look slightly bigger ("super") than an average full moon. 

🎧 Ben is reading Dan Zak on the shenanigans in Maricopa County, Ariz., and listening to WUSF's The Zest podcast on Zora Neale Hurston's foodie proclivities. 🥘

🥢 Selene is eating Pad Woon Seen and listening to "Sour." 🍏

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See y'all tomorrow.