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USF INSTITUTE for Research in Art

The USF Institute for Research in Art (IRA) is the umbrella organization for the Contemporary Art Museum, Graphicstudio, Public Art program, and Art in Health. Part of the University of South Florida College of The Arts, the IRA is dedicated to an international artists’ residency program that brings to the University and Tampa Bay community today’s most accomplished and influential artists working in the international art arena. Exhibitions, collection development, publication of limited edition graphics and sculpture multiples, commissioned public art works, interdisciplinary arts research, lectures, symposia, workshops and special events are designed to foster awareness about the role of contemporary artists in shaping our culture and society. Participating artists represent the full and diverse spectrum of contemporary art practice including, but not limited to, painting, sculpture, photography, electronic media, and performance.

Stories From Our BLOGS

Jenal Dolson, 2020 MFA
Artist Talk: Jenal Dolson, 2020 MFA

Meet Jenal Dolson, an artist, forager and collector of objects. For Dolson, the world is full of treasure. A broken chain found in the lawn or a piece of salvaged trash – nothing is overlooked. “Objects have so many functions, and they come from something else. They have a rich functional history, a touchstone to the past, and something completely different…the object may have reached the end of its former life…(but) it has its own metamorphosis.”
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Moshen Azar, 2020 MFA
Artist Talk: Moshen Azar, 2020 MFA

Meet Mohsen Azar. Azar was born in Isfahan just after the Iranian and Iraqi war. Mohsen came to the U.S. to pursue an MFA, and to study the state of political affairs in his own country and its global connections. As a photographer, Azar is “interested in the institution of seeing, the politics of presentation, and the possibilities for representation.” He investigates the nature of looking, which he believes comes with a set of unconscious expectations informed through media and society.
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Jezabeth Roca Gonzalez, 2020 MFA
Artist Talk: Jezabeth Roca Gonzalez, 2020 MFA

Meet Jezabeth Roca Gonzalez, a multi-disciplinary artist. Gonzalez was born in Puerto Rico, “in a rural part of the island, which was like an island within the island.” She is interested in land politics, and her artwork celebrates the “island rural” traditions. Gonzalez investigates the unofficial colonial status that characterizes the relationship between the territory of Puerto Rico and mainland United States. She examines how colonialism is embedded into the collective identity, locales, and even the vegetation of the island.
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Jon Notwick, 2020 MFA
Artist Talk: Jon Notwick, 2020 MFA

Meet Jonathan Notwick, a photographer. Notwick recalls his parents telling stories about the Cold War, duck and cover drills, and neighbors who created backyard bomb shelters. His recent artwork investigates the history of weapons testing in the American landscape. Notwick’s artwork examines the spectacle of nuclear testing in the Manhattan Project, a U.S. government-led initiative to develop atomic weaponry that began secretly in Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1942, and which enlisted some of the world’s most celebrated scientists.
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Matthew Campbell, 2020 MFA
Artist Talk: Matthew Campbell, 2020 MFA

Meet Matthew Campbell, a sculptor and installation artist. As a trained architect, Campbell’s art practice is informed by reflections focused on social conduct and philosophic ideas. He is interested in the intrinsic relationships among material objects and relies on physics for his investigations of the structure of matter and for grasping the big picture of how everything works together. Although matter is commonly classified as either natural or manmade, Campbell makes little distinction between the natural world and creative production.
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Mahya Amini, 2020 MFA
Artist Talk: Mahya Amini, 2020 MFA

Meet Mahya Amini, a figure painter who explores “how people may look or feel inside.” She believes that humans are shaped in childhood through experiences and encounters with cultural traditions, institutions and family relationships. Amini recontextualizes her childhood memories, feelings and mental states through a tactile practice of painting, often using her hands rather than brushes. Driven by the process of recreating experience rather than reaching visual conclusions, Amini looks to artists like Anslem Kiefer, stating “Kiefer is free…he cares less about the outcome and more about the process.”
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Rachel Underwood, 2020 MFA
Artist Talk: Rachel Underwood, 2020 MFA

Meet Rachel Underwood, a painter’s painter and environmental guardian. Her artwork investigates how human activity has affected earth’s systems in our current geological age, the Anthropocene. Specifically, Underwood is interested in “how the human animal’s impact on the planet is causing a sixth mass extinction,” and how avoidance affects resiliency or worse: the collapse of all species. Underwood turns to the conventions of oil paint and the system of perspective to depict a cascade of events and repercussions spinning out of control with no end in sight.
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Kyle Timberman, 2020 MFA
Artist Talk: Kyle Timberman, 2020 MFA

Meet Kyle Timberman, a sculptor and collector of human stories. In the tales of life, we first meet ourselves and then we meet others. Collectively, we comprise a range of characteristics and emotional typologies. Timberman is interested in investigating individual and especially shared aspects of the human psyche and human experience. His sculptures are sensitive, wobbly and precariously balanced psychological portraits.  
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Rhonda Massel Donovan, 2020 MFA
Artist Talk: Rhonda Massel Donovan, 2020 MFA

Meet Rhonda Massel Donovan, who after years of working in design, chose to toss the corporate roadmap and devote herself to artmaking. Donovan is interested in mapping human interactions and all the complexity of human relationships – sometimes painful, other times joyous, more often a mixture of both. Donovan’s paintings are the visual traces of social exchanges, psychological gashes and scars.
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Ash Lester, 2020 MFA
Artist Talk: Ash Lester, 2020 MFA

Meet Ashley Lester, better known as Ash. Her artwork investigates issues such as class, isolation, and stereotypes through reflections on personal experiences growing up in rural America, specifically in a settlement called Wiggletown. Wiggletown is eerily absent from any map, yet Wiggletown and places like it comprise an archipelago of isolated communities, often lacking capital but rich in rural ingenuity and the need to invent.
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Viewing DesertX 2019
Four Days in the Desert - Viewing Desert X 2019

Desert X 2019 was conceived as nineteen sites spread throughout the Coachella Valley, from the northeastern-most area of Whitewater to the southeastern-most Salton Sea. Here is a travelogue of sorts, organized by the individual works within Desert X and other related experiences that occurred during my time in the Coachella Valley.
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Graphicstudio Benefit Sale 2018
My Year at Graphicstudio, guest post by Alexa Nuñez

I remember when I first started as the marketing intern in May 2018 under the sales and marketing director, Kristin Soderqvist. I was completing course credit and had been connected with Graphicstudio through CAM. I was majoring in marketing and minoring in art history at the time so I thought this would be a great fit to merge my two passions.
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Bosco Sodi's Muro at USFCAM

At 6:00 am on Thursday, January 24, under an unseasonal Florida drizzle, the artist Bosco Sodi began to build a wall outside of the USF Contemporary Art Museum. Along with his assistant John Rohrer, staff of USFCAM and members of the CAM Club, Bosco began unloading crates of clay timbers, handmade by artisans in Oaxaca, Mexico, and lining them up in a neat row.
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Art Thursday: Concert in the Galleries during Miki Kratsman: People I Met at USFCAM. photo Mark Fredricks
ART Thursday: Concert in the Galleries

As the semester winds down to the end, the Contemporary Art Museum presents the last of their events in relation to the Miki Kratsman: People I Met exhibition. On Thursday, November 1, CAM held Art Thursday: Concert in the Galleries at 7 PM. This event was in collaboration with USF Contemporary Chamber Music, who brought live performances to the museum, in response to the Miki Kratsman: People I Met exhibition.
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Art Thursday: Raise the Flags event at USFCAM
ART Thursday: Raise the Flags

On Thursday afternoon, a faint trumpet was playing in the distance near the Marshall Student Center. It was 7 PM when the Contemporary Art Museum event began and the accompanying trumpeter finished their tune, introducing the multi-media celebration which marked the end of the Raise the Flags: Pledges of Allegiance exhibition at CAM.
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CAM Club Workshop
CAM Club Workshop: Guest Post By Jasmin Noble

Recently the Contemporary Art Museum Club held its first major professional workshop. Part of CAM Club’s mission is to provide students with the skills needed for successful museum event planning, facilitation and promotion. From opening events to artist talks, CAM Club wants students to be prepared for major museum duties and have skills applicable to a range of fields.
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Danay Suárez
I Will Be Me: A Community Residency with Danay Suárez

Danay Suárez is a singer known for her versatility. She moves effortlessly between genres, from rap and hip-hop to reggae, jazz, r&b, and soul, yet she has spent years refining and perfecting her distinctive sound. Born in Havana in 1985, her first full length album, Polvo de la Humedad was released in 2011. Her second album, Palabras Manuales, had already been recorded in Cuba when she was offered a contract with Universal in the United States.
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Consciousness of Classes: A Story About Ybor City, Cuba and Cigars

Cuba played an important role in the development of 19th century Tampa and the 1880s dramatically altered Tampa’s future. In 1886, Spanish born Vicente Martínez Ybor chose Tampa as the site of a cigar-manufacturing center in what is now a section of Tampa called Ybor City. Thousands of Cuban and Spanish immigrants followed to produce hand-rolled cigars and a passionate Latin culture was born.
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Architecture of Power: A Story About Cuban Marble

Cuban marble has a rich and eclectic heritage that mirrors the country’s social and political past. Cities such as Havana were built following the 1573 Ordinance of Spanish King Philip II that required a Spanish style cathedral, administrative buildings, and a governor’s palace to line the central plaza. The Cuban builders and craftsman infused the classical Spanish architecture with regional designs and used local marble from the renowned quarries formed by Cuba’s unique geological structure.
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A Monumental Young Elvis Made Digital: Guest Post by Jeanie Ambrosio

For the David Claerbout exhibition at USF’s Contemporary Art Museum, the exhibition designer in conjunction with the artist’s studio has formed the space to incorporate four video installations by the artist. Three of these installations produce a large-scale immersive experience for the viewer, while the work displayed at the smallest scale, Radio Piece (Hong Kong) (2015), exists at the size of a standard flat screen to accommodate the intimate experience it produces.
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Emory Douglas - The Black Panther Party Newspaper
Prints Providing a Catalyst for Change:
A Guest Post by Erin Hughes, MA Candidate

On June 2nd, two new exhibitions opened at USF’s Contemporary Art Museum, bringing with them a full schedule of events throughout their stay in Tampa. Black Pulp! and Woke! bring with them endless opportunities to engage with and discuss the current status of race relations in our nation. Black Pulp! contains over one hundred years of African-American representation in print works, while Woke! contains works by William Villalongo and Mark Thomas Gibson, the curators of Black Pulp! Between the two galleries, all who enter are sure to be engaged by the striking works from over a century of print.
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Felandus Thames - I'm Neutral
To Be Faceless: Caricature & Racial Identity:
A Guest Post by Tyra Mishell

Whenever I see black face or any racist caricature of black people, I am reminded of how the world has perceived and continues to perceive black people. It does not shock me as much now as when I was small and was first made aware of my blackness as spectacle. Upon looking, I am usually greeted with the same feeling of grossness and humiliation as I would if someone were to catch me in the most unflattering position. However, when I went to see the Black Pulp! exhibition and came across Felandus Thames’ I'm Neutral, I felt the warmth that one experiences when they look upon the beautiful thing.
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Inside Art
InsideART: USFCAM’s Art and Social Studies Curriculum

As part of its mission, the USF Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) has developed an innovative web-based visual literacy program that integrates social studies and contemporary art in an examination and discussion of critical societal issues.
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Robert Mapplethorpe, Tampa Orchid, 1986. photogravure/screenprint; 21-1/2 x 35-1/4 inches; Edition 60
Robert Mapplethorpe at Graphicstudio

Robert Mapplethorpe is the subject of much renewed interest as the J. Paul Getty Museum and LACMA present complementary exhibitions which form Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium. This retrospective in two parts coincides with the release of HBO Pictures documentary Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures.
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College of The Arts

The College of The Arts is the creative center of the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus. Dedicated to preparing students for careers in architecture, community design, art, art history, music, theatre, and dance, the College provides students with a hands-on learning environment where real-world exhibition, performance, and practice opportunities abound. Situated in a culturally rich metropolitan area, students and faculty participate in Arts research through interdisciplinary work, global explorations, and local community engagement in Tampa Bay.

University of South Florida

The University of South Florida, established in 1956 and located in Tampa, is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. The USF System includes three, separately accredited institutions: USF; USF St. Petersburg; and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Serving more than 49,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is ranked in the Top 30 nationally for research expenditures among public universities, according to the National Science Foundation. In 2016, the Florida Legislature designated USF as “Emerging Preeminent,” placing USF in an elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.

Closure Notice

USFCAM and Graphicstudio are temporarily closed in order to promote the best practices regarding public health and comply with USF closures. Faculty and staff are working remotely. To contact the museum please email, for Graphicstudio email As USF develops a plan for the fall semester, more information about visiting in person will be made available here and on the Facebook pages for USFCAM and Graphicstudio.

From June 6 to December 12, USFCAM presents Life During Wartime: Art in the Age of Coronavirus, curated by Christian Viveros-Fauné. This online exhibition presents responses to COVID-19 by leading artists from around the world.



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Upcoming Events

August 7, Online
Life During Wartime Artist Conversation

August 22, Online
Life During Wartime Artist Conversation

September 11, Online
Life During Wartime Artist Conversation



Donate now to support CAM exhibitions and related educational programs!

Donate now to support Graphicstudio residencies with world-class artists to create limited editions of prints and sculptures!

Donate now to support socially-engaged art projects and community partnerships!


News + Press

04/21/2020 - PRESS
USF photography workshop giving valuable exposure to local veteran - USF News

03/18/2020 - PRESS
USF Graphicstudio is Tampa’s Destination for Art World Superstars, By Caitlin Albritton -

02/26/2020 - PRESS
Anastasia Samoylova: FloodZone, By Danny Olda -

02/19/2020 - PRESS
Art for a Warming World: Sponge Exchange and FloodZone, By Antonia S. Krueger - Creative Pinellas

02/12/2020 - PRESS
FloodZone – Much Is Amiss In This Paradoxical Paradise, By Selina Roman - Bay Art Files

01/28/2020 - PRESS
USF CAM solo exhibitions contribute to climate change conversation, By Julie Garisto - 83degrees

01/21/2020 - PRESS
In Florida, Anastasia Samoylova captures a tropical utopia on the brink of disaster, By Miss Rosen - Document Journal

01/20/2020 - PRESS
'FloodZone' Captures South Florida's 'Climate Anxiety' In Unexpected Ways, By Daniel Rivero - WLRN Miami

01/17/2020 - PRESS
2 Artists Highlight Oceans In Crisis During USF Museum Exhibits, by D'Ann Lawrenc White -

01/15/2020 - PRESS
Environmental art exhibits open at the University of South Florida, by Maggie Duffy - Tampa Bay Times

01/13/2020 - PRESS
USF Contemporary Art Museum takes on climate change with two new solo exhibitions, by SK West - Creative Loafing, Tampa


Director's Circle

Join the Director's Circle to promote creative experimentation, enjoy exhibitions that push boundaries and provoke dialogue, build the cultural vitality of Tampa, and meet world-class artists and art professionals.


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Art In Health
In partnership with USF Health, USFCAM's Art In Health program explores intersections between the arts and healthcare.

This innovative web-based visual literacy program integrates secondary school social studies and science with contemporary art in an examination and discussion of critical societal issues.

Interested in an internship at CAM or Graphicstudio? Find out how to apply and what deadlines you need to know.

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Institute for Research in Art

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Graphicstudio Hours:
Temporarily Closed

Temporarily Closed

Groups and organizations interested in tours of the exhibition should contact CAM to schedule at least two weeks in advance at (813) 974-4133.

The University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum (USFCAM) is fully accessible to visitors with disabilities. There are disabled parking spaces outsde of the museum, an accessible entrance, good lighting and accessible restrooms.

The museum follows the USF guidelines regarding service animals.

USFCAM faculty and staff are pleased to work with organizations that provide cultural opportunities for disabled clients to tour the Museum. Please call (813) 974-4133 two weeks in advance to request specific tour information. For more accessibility information please call (813) 974-4133.

Copyright + Reproduction

The electronic images available on this site are subject to copyright and may be covered by other restrictions as well. The images are made available to the general public for the sole purpose of representing the USF Contemporary Art Museum’s programs and collection. Copying or redistribution of the images in any manner without the express written permission of the University of South Florida Institute for Research in Art is strictly prohibited.


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