MFA St. Pete gathers a collective of black artists for a night of music, theater, and prose

MFA St. Pete gathers a collective of black artists for a night of music, theater, and prose

photo of three artists below a yellow banner

This article is part of a paid partnership with The Museum of Fine Arts and its latest event Spiral Full Circle

Join the MFA this Thursday for a multi-genre evening of performances honoring the legacy of Spiral, a collective of Black artists formed in the mid-1960s around the time of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The event, set for January 27, will feature local creatives Tenea D. Johnson, Cranstan Cumberbatch, and Butch Thomas.

Focusing their mission on balancing activism with one’s personal artistic practice, these artists sought ways to engage with the Civil Rights Movement while negotiating individual aesthetic choices.

Spiral Full Circle runs from 7pm-9pm on January 27 and is free to attend with museum admission.

Poet, author Tenea Johnson brings their craft to life on stage

Prolific author and poet Tenea D. Johnson will read speculative fiction inspired by Emma Amos. In 2021, Johnson published Frequencies: a Fiction Album and Broken Fevers, of which Publisher’s Weekly wrote “the 14 hard-hitting, memorable short stories and prose vignettes in this powerhouse collection from Johnson…  are astounding in their originality.” 


Those interested can find the author’s work in anthologies such as Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond, Sycorax’s Daughters, and Blue and Gray: Ghost Stories from the Civil War

Their debut novel, Smoketown, won the Parallax Award. R/evolution, the first book in the Revolution series (which includes the novel, Evolution), received an honorable mention that year as well.

Olympic gold medalist to perform at The MFA St. Pete

Actor Cranstan Cumberbatch has his own gravitational pull. The charismatic actor, producer, and director was part of the 2006 U.S. Olympic team for performing arts where he won 7 medals on the world’s largest stage including one gold, 4 silver, and two bronze against competitors spanning 52 countries in acting, modeling, spoken, and vocal performance. 

During the event, Cumberbatch will provide a performance centered on Romare Bearden.

Saxophonist Butch Thomas’ career spans 30 years of featured performance and recordings by the likes of Jaco Pastorius, Lenny Kravitz, Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, and Sting. The sensational musician was awarded the Gold Artist Winner from the 2008 Radio Indy Awards because of the quality of his debut recording, produced and engineered by none other than CD Baby founder, Derek Sivers.


Thomas will perform a musical suite inspired by Norman Lewis.

Learn more about the featured artists, and the event on the official Spiral Full Circle page.

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