Dale Mabry Campus News
Gallery221@HCC Spring Features
Gallery 221 Celebrates Crowns

Hats off to photographer Michael Cunningham whose early childhood recollections of attending church services with his family inspired an endearing and culturally significant artistic study of black church ladies and their “crowns.” Presented as the visual art component of the annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, over 100 people participated in the exhibition’s opening reception which featured an opportunity to hear the artist share his experiences in capturing the special qualities inherent in the 30 black and white photographs featured in Michael Cunningham Crowns, Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats.

Cunningham, who is an accomplished commercial photographer based in Washington D.C., developed the series into an art exhibition, a bestselling book, and a traveling theatrical production highlighting the women’s individual stories and their deep, spiritual connections to family, church, and community. Gallery 221 was pleased to organize this exhibition which gave students, faculty, and members of the community at large a chance to admire both the life affirming stories of the women featured and Cunningham’s mastery of portrait photography. Local hat collector Sharon Thompson, a Media Specialist at the Learning Resources Center on the Dale Mabry campus for the past 32 years, lent exquisitely crafted hats from her personal collection to augment the black and white photographs on display.

Media Coverage:

To view more photos from this event, please visit the HCC Flickr feed:


In March, Gallery 221@HCC will present the celluloid sculpture of artist Nancy Cervenka. Consisting of lyrical, organic-like shapes with mysteriously familiar yet strangely provocative forms, her pieces are fabricated from tightly coiled strands of vintage celluloid film stock. Film on Film is a site-specific installation including floor and ceiling pieces and a multi-media video projection. On view through April 27, the public is invited to an opening reception from 5 to 7pm with an artist’s talk at 6 pm on Thursday, March 15. Based in Gulfport, Florida, Nancy Cervenka has a MFA in cinematography from the University of South Florida and was awarded the 2009 Best in Show at the prestigious Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts in Tampa. Her work has been included in many group and solo museum and art gallery exhibitions and is represented in numerous public and private collections. The exhibition will provide a unique opportunity to examine the groundbreaking work of an artist exploring film as a fluid, sculptural material.

For more information about Gallery 221, contact Gallery Director Katherine Gibson at 253-7386 or kgibson7@hccfl.edu
Article Written By: Jose Gelats .