A non-profit exhibition hall dedicated to preserving the honor and memory of America's fighting forces, the Armed Forces Military Museum depicts the nation's most visceral conflicts with vivid audio-visual flair. Visitors can wind their way through the 35,000-square-foot space to absorb more than a dozen artifact-packed permanent exhibits, including replicas of iconic wartime scenarios. Revisit the beginning of modern combat with a stroll through a World War I trench, gain new understanding about life in the Axis in the midst of a German village outpost, or reenact Alan Alda's trademark video poker tactics in the replica of Rose's Bar, a Korean War–era haunt that was immortalized on MAS*H. Cyber combatants can also rattle digital sabers with a ride in the museum's Virtual Voyager motion simulator, which can immerse the senses in 10 different scenarios. The M8 ride also offers the only armored vehicle ride in the Tampa Bay Area during the three-lap course. Rides can hold three riders per trip (including driver) and appointments must be made on the following days: Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Built in 1918, the Craftsman House's expansive, adobe-toned bungalow collapses time as visitors step onto a breezy veranda, walk past a lush carpet of flowers and fronds, and witness more American craftwork than they can shake an intricately whittled stick at. Blown glass, turned wood, and fine pottery and jewelry provided by a 300-strong network of local and national artists are just a few of the pieces that settle in at this homey abode. The building is so homey, in fact, that one artist hardly ever leaves. Surrounded by the courtyard, what was once an old-time carriage house is now the clay-caked studio of professional potter Stephanie Schorr. There, visitors can find her partway through many projects at once, crafting functional wares and feeding the carnival fire breathers that keep her kiln hot.
The historic hub of creative know-how hosts a multiplicity of events, including live music, gallery tours, and artistic workshops. In honor of the gallery's tireless community efforts, Craftsman House was named the 2011 Top Retailer for a Charitable or Philanthropic Event by Niche magazine.
Much like professional skydivers, wily coyotes, and other careers that involve a degree of danger, most professional glassblowers aren’t self-taught. Joshua Poll, however, learned to harness the glass furnace all by himself, today imparting more than a decade of self-taught experience to Zen Glass Studios, where he and fellow glass smith David Walker create custom works of art by hand. Together they shape glass into authentic and unique pieces, including custom glassware and jewelry to wear while meeting a spouse’s goldfish for the first time.
Within their studio, Joshua and David teach workshops and classes, during which students survey basic to advanced glass-blowing techniques, crafting their own handmade objects such as ornaments, beer glasses, and vases. The duo also runs a full glassblower training program, which follows a syllabus structured to arm all students with all the necessary skills to set out on their own in the industry, just as Joshua did all those years ago.
Judie Dazzio believes that everyone can be an artist. And at Dazzio Art Experience—a comprehensive art school—she helps everyone from children to adults and novices to professionals harness their creativity. Though she's a painter herself—having won awards for her work with watercolors and acrylics—she caters to range of artistic interests, offering classes in acrylics and watercolors but also branching out into sculpture, illustration, and Photoshop. For the experienced artist, she and her instructors provide developmental classes to help them produce portfolio pieces and host group critique sessions.
Beyond teaching her students the techniques to create, she also displays their works in a gallery attached to her school. Here, rows upon rows of painted canvases, sculptures, and handcrafted jewelry showcase their newly acquired talents.
With nearly 30 years of glass industry experience, professional artist Kathleen leads students of all levels in creating works of art. Her classes—which are kept small to allow for individualized attention—teach the basics of stained glass, fused glass, and mosaics, as well as creating jewelry items such as beads and pendants. Kathleen can also be commissioned to create custom pieces, such as church windows and stained glass doors.