Students' re-purposed cigar box art on display at Tampa Bay History Center

By Virginia Johnson, Entertainment Reporter/Host
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 06, 2014, 4:40 PM EDT
more information

A new exhibition at the Tampa Bay History Center is repurposing unused objects, engaging young artists and honoring Tampa’s heritage.

It started with 3,000 empty cigar boxes, courtesy of the Support Our Troops organization.

The boxes made stops at Hillsborough County Public School Art classes.

And after a few months of student toiling, its trash turned into treasure at the 3rd Annual Repurposed Doo-Dad Art and Sculpture Competition, on display at the Tampa Bay History Center through June 1.

"Students represented here in their art range from first grade all the way through high school," said Rodney Kite-Powell, Curator at the Tampa Bay History Center. "Sometimes you can recognize that it is a cigar box that's holding a piece of art.”

(Check out the smoking, mustachioed baby doll head poking out of a cigar box adorned with baby footprints.)

“But sometimes,” said Kite-Powell, “you don't even know that it was a cigar box that was used at all in the piece of art."

(Look for the lion’s head and a bird sculpture for interesting use of raw materials.)

Competition categories include “Most Humorous,” “Tampa History,” and “Tampa’s Cigar History.

And that’s where we come to a roach. Seated as if on a park bench. The size of a first grader. Smoking a cigar. Reading Cigar Magazine.

"This piece is actually called La Cucaracha. Five students from Gorrie Elementary created this," explained Dana Warner, the Supervisor of Art Education for Hillsborough Public Schools.

"They said that roaches are all over Florida, so they wanted to entertain and bring a smile to people's faces."

Juried prizes will be awarded during a reception at the History Center Friday, May 9, at 5:30 p.m. Channel District.