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Artist Rico Gatson turns USF Tampa museum into celebration of Black heroes

By Sean Daly

TAMPA, Fla. — USF Tampa senior Derek Hopkins can't believe his luck.

Inside the Contemporary Art Museum on campus, the student is helping an acclaimed international artist create the biggest mural of his professional life.

"Seeing, at a professional level, how these murals are put up is something I'll never forget," said Hopkins.

And he'll never forget the famous man who hired him to help.

Brooklyn-based talent Rico Gatson's new exhibition, "Visible Time," will include an 88-feet-long, 16-feet-high salute to famed author and Floridian Zora Neale Hurston.

It's all part of his celebration of African-American heroes. His signature style includes rays of hope and light coming from such luminaries as Sidney Poitier and Miles Davis.

"What we're trying to do is convey a sense of hope, of energy," said Gatson. "It's really a celebration of the radiance of these individuals."

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