Our Firsts

On October 24th, Crab Devil, LLC and Tempus Projects, unveiled the first commissioned artwork to grace the newly purchased property and future home of the Peninsularium. A 40 foot mural depicting a Harriet Tubman twenty dollar bill was painted collaboratively by Illsol and New Roots Art Collective. Illsol is the muralist husband and wife team of Michelle Sawyer and Tony Krol, whose artistic mark grace various interior and exterior spaces across the Tampa Bay. New Roots Art Collective is a Tampa based ensemble of young African American artists, including Biauna Walker, Jaurice Moore, Melvin Halsey, Jr.,  and Ron Simmons. A small cookout was organized to welcome the neighbors in the Ybor Heights and Seminole Heights to the development plans for the site. Also on board were musical performances by Mike Mass, Mic Deluxx and  Psych Montano, some of Tampa’s most followed hip-hop shakers and movers. Thanks to everyone who came out to visit in a socially distanced and masked manner.

In the past ten months, Crab Devil has engaged nine artists to launch the first round of immersive installations. These are specifically designed for shipping containers and arranged in a circuitous path through interior spaces and outdoor courtyards. Florida will play the central role that binds each environment together. Whether these spaces are evoke fantastical imagined lore of skunk apes and manatees, or are reminiscent of the mundane walks through Florida woodlands. Nothing will be as simple as it appears, and there will always be something more to learn as you investigate.

The Crab Devil Cabinet of Curiosities will line the central hallway and entrance to Peninsularium. This collection of oddities is the foundation of a growing Wunderkammer of Florida-centric oddities. The first twenty acquisitions have already been made with more commissions to be completed soon.

We stand for the primacy of the creative impulse above all else. The human imperative to explore and manipulate our environment is what drives us. Our desire is to create experiences and environments that instill new feelings, challenge perceptions, and create permanent changes in the viewer. We strive for an architecture of joy.

Image of the Crab Devil flag and Tempus Projects flag blowing in the wind.

It is through art that we come to understand the world around us, to see the beauty of its systems and to connect with ourselves, our neighbors, and our planet. So, our mission here is two-fold. We must help to bring about the structural changes needed for everyone to participate in this creative economy, and we must position ourselves as ready, willing, and able to do the work that will need to be done in order to make it happen. We are artists and makers, not politicians or policy makers. We endeavor always to support and encourage positive change, but most importantly, we aim to lead by example. We will treat our fellow artists, employees, and associates as equals, we will pay them a living wage, we will give them credit for their contributions and we will support them in their own efforts to succeed. We will actively seek out contributions from those whose voices have not been heard in these venues, and we will listen to them when they speak. Cultivation of diversity is not just a lofty aspiration of ours, it is a necessity if this work is to succeed, to be original and engaging, and to speak to the people in the community that it serves.

Crab Devil, even in its name, could only have been born in Tampa, Florida, and much like the city from which it came, it is rife with complexity and contradictions. The only things that Tampa truly has going for it are all well below its surface, and perhaps that’s for the best. Like all good things whose interest and intrigue has staying power, Tampa opens itself only to the curious and intrepid.

Crab Devil aims to make this all just a little more accessible to those who would trust themselves in the embrace of our vision.  We have an incredibly talented pool of artists and creators whose unique perspective has yet to be experienced by the world at large. We also have a rich and complicated history to draw from that is largely unknown to the average visitor. It is our hope that we can provide a platform to showcase the talents and traditions of this unique city and its people in a way that can help to establish its identity on a national stage and to open viewers minds to the possibilities around every corner.