December 31, 2011; Tampa FL, USA; A commemorative life-sized bronze statue of franchise founder Phil Esposito was unveiled as well as the new Tampa Bay Times Forum logo prior to the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Class Just Gets Classier With Local Artist Derek Gores

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been transitioning the look of the Tampa Bay Times Forum since the summer of 2011. They have hung more than 250 pieces of artwork around the building in various places, on all levels for all to enjoy. The artwork ranges from beach scenes to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the city of Tampa’s beautiful skyline, an even lightning striking over the bay. Those pieces of art were submitted by local artists who wanted to give the building the ‘Tampa Feel’. Artists including  Galen Burow, Don Naumann, Matthew Paulson, Tim Fritz, Paul Kamp, Jim Blizzard and Steven Eng.

Now the Lightning has teamed up with world renowned local artist Derek Gores, who will be adding 2 new pieces. Both original artworks will be displayed in the suite level next season, but will be digitally reproduced and displayed on other levels. He will make 2 pieces, one being a collage of everything Tampa Bay Lightning. The other will be a mix of other events like concerts that happen at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.. He unique collage technique will include recycled photos, Lightning tickets, maps, schedules, team stats, concert posters, backstage passes, fan memorabilia, and other items that built the history of the Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey Club.

“I’m honored to be creating two original, large collage pieces for the Lightning and Tampa Bay Times Forum as part of their transformation project of their building,” Gores said. “I love the challenge of translating the passion of a fan base, a team and a city, making it into a piece of art on a canvas.”

This is just part of the transformation of art and class that Jeff and Penny Vinik are bringing to The Tampa Bay Times Forum. They will be giving local artists the chance to have their art showcased in the forum next season as well. They want local artists to submit their work ‘that showcases the unique beauty and character of the Tampa Bay area’. The submission deadline is September 15th. (Boy, that day is sure becoming a busy day, isn’t it?) Artists will be notified by October 1st if their artwork as been accepted into the exhibition.


“I’m looking forward to growing my roots in the Tampa Bay arts community, and I hope this is the first of many successful projects,” Penny Vinik said. “I’d like to personally call on our local artists to help continue to transform the Times Forum by adorning the walls of our arena with artwork that symbolizes Tampa Bay. The Times Forum will continue to give our fans and visitors a sense of community when they travel through the arena with Bay Area-centric art pieces.”

The goal of the exhibit is to show the history of the 20 seasons of the Tampa Bay Lightning. A panel of local art community leaders from Tampa Bay area art museums will select  41 hanging pieces of art and 4 sculptures. These will be displayed on the interior walls of the suite level. The panel will score each submission from 1 – 100 on visual and conceptual impact. The top 3 ranked chosen artists will receive a cash prize of $1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second, and third will be given $500. The top 10 Honorable Mentions will get $250 each. All artists will be invited to the unveiling at a reception this Fall.

Interested artists may submit their work in the form of photography, painting, drawing, or sculpture by logging Computer art will not be accepted. Artists must be at least 18 years of age and live or work in Tampa Bay area surrounding counties, including Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk or Sarasota. Paintings, pictures, and drawings must be complete and can be no larger than 6′ X 6′, including the frame. Sculptures are limited to a 7′ height with various widths accepted.

For more information please contact Lightning team photographer Scott Audette at [email protected].


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