Imagine our post-pandemic future with Tampa Bay artists

We provided the photos, the artists added the creative flair.

What will life be like when this pandemic ends? Will anything change — and how?

Tampa Bay Times photographers made photos around the Tampa Bay area. Then, we asked local artists to envision the future, inspired by the photos. Enjoy this moment of imagination, seeing a post-pandemic future through their artistic and critical lenses.

Alli Arnold

Artist statement:

When I think about our post-pandemic life together in Tampa Bay, I look forward to seeing the streets come alive again with activity. I hope to see everyone respecting each other by wearing masks and getting along. Masks may just become an unremarkable everyday accessory, or a fashion statement. We will be entering a strange new world, but we will have the comfort and support of friends and neighbors and our wonderful city once again.

Photo by Douglas R. Clifford, Times

Terry Bruillard steps into Dodecanese Blvd. to solicit customers to visit Yianni's Greek Restaurant on March 27 at the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks.

A motorcyclist rides down a two-lane street lined with quaint shops and restaurants, looking over his shoulder at the only other visible person, a woman trying to attract customers by waving a red flag. A colorful collection of characters appear, people, animals, an alien, all wearing masks or space helmets.
Amanda LaForest

Artist statement:

In my vision for bars and restaurants in a post-Covid world, I imagine an atmosphere that is more conscious of personal space, an awareness of the obstacles we face together as a community, but a welcomed return to the warmth and charm of socializing around food and drink.

Photo by Octavio Jones

Tequilas was nearly empty in Ybor City on March 16.

An empty bar with empty tables where it should be full of revelry. Now the bar is full of green plant life. Two alligators gaze longingly at each other from socially-distanced tables.
Chad Mize

Artist statement:

When all of the COVID-19 shutdowns started happening and the beaches began to close, I was thinking of the break Mother Nature was feeling.

Photo by Dirk Shadd, Times

A beach closed sign on March 21 at Pass-a-Grille in Pinellas County. The beaches have since reopened.

Beach entry boardwalk blocked by a barrier with a sign The sign is tagged
Cory Robinson

Artist statement:

This project was developed to react to the “new norms” we will be seeing after the pandemic. Throughout quarantine, I have channeled my art to help deal with the current situation. Not only has it been a way to speak my inner thoughts, but also to help me practice mindfulness. That can help everyone’s day-to-day life. In this societal adaption, I show new airport norms where masks and PPE are required and hope for these changes.

Photo by Dirk Shadd, Times

Travelers come and go near the SkyConnect area at Tampa International Airport on May 7 in Tampa.

A mostly-empty airport terminal, two travelers roll their luggage in the distant shadows. Now there is a sign about keeping a six-foot distance above multiple colorful animals rolling their luggage. All are wearing masks or personal protection equipment.
Jennifer Kosharek

Artist statement:

“Under a Covid19 Sun” is inspired by how we have used beaches in the past and how we will use them in the future. It is my hope that social distancing and caring for the environment will go hand in hand. That our mindfulness to not catch a virus will spill into mindfulness for our environment. My piece captures the fear and uncertainty of what tomorrow may bring with hope of a better way of doing things.

Photo by Boyzell Hosey, Times

An empty and quiet Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach is devoid of activity during the county-wide shutdown of all beaches.

Mark Mitchell

Artist statement:

I call this piece, “The Intergalactic Matador Transcends Time and Space to Vanquish the Invisible Enemy Amid Thunderous Applause and a Shower of Roses.” It occurred to me that there really is no “post-pandemic” until the virus is completely eradicated — via vaccine or cure. So in the spirit of Dalí, my vision here is a fantastical one, reprising his familiar bullfighter figure as time traveler, appearing in the near future to slay the virus and make our city safe again.

Photo by Douglas R. Clifford, Times

A portion of the Enigma, the 75-foot-tall glass entryway at the Dali Museum, is illuminated with blue light on April 22 in downtown St. Petersburg.


Artist statement:

I found my inspiration for this piece just looking at situations in my everyday life. I was in the midst of mailing off artwork at the post office when this lady and her son — he looked about 4 or 3 — and he was doing what any toddler would do and that is touch EVERYTHING despite his mother’s orders. I just started to remember how I was when I was younger. When someone told me not to do something without explaining to me why I shouldn’t, I would deliberately do it anyway just to see what the fuss was about. I wondered what would’ve happened if she stopped yelling at him and actually explained to him calmly why he shouldn’t. I took that rambunctious side and applied it to my piece by having my characters do exactly what the signs are telling them not to do.

Photo by Chris Urso, Times

The door to the playground at the Village of Woodland Hills subdivision is seen with caution tape after the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office closed the playground on May 7 in Palm Harbor.

Ora Fraze

Artist statement:

When imagining the world after this quarantine, my mind goes right toward automation. In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in the ability of machines to fulfill a variety of positions normally performed by humans. With the outbreak of COVID-19, I can see this rate increasing at an ever-more-rapid pace. To illustrate this, my original character D.U.U.G.™, a machine, from out of nowhere, appears falling from the sky to Earth.

Photo by Luis Santana, Times

An aerial view from April 9 shows the empty parking lots at Tampa's University Mall due to COVID-19 closures.

Additional credits

  • Designers: Eli Zhang, Martin Frobisher
  • Developer: Martin Frobisher
  • Producers: Eli Zhang, Maggie Duffy