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Virgin 2.0 part of Ybor City’s artistic rebirth

After the largest art festival in Tampa — the Gala Corina — was canceled, its absence left another event aimed at reviving Ybor City’s creative scene in the spotlight.

And so, Virgin 2.0 was born.

Err, born again.

Virgin 2.0 is a night of art, music, dance, fashion and food that benefits the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Its name is a play on the words “Version 2.0.”

Okesene Tilo, Florida executive director for Square One Creative, the producer of Virgin 2.0, said the event couldn’t have come at a better time.

“A huge majority of artists participating in Virgin 2.0 are artists who were looking forward to and creating new work for Gala Corina,” Tilo said. “There is a huge void now that the biggest art event in Tampa is not taking place this year.”

Twenty artists will present works themed around the concept of rebirth and renaissance, all featuring the color pink for breast cancer awareness.

Tilo said Ybor is undergoing a rebirth as local businesses try to restore the historic district’s reputation as the artistic capital of Tampa.

Square One Creative was formed with the vision of bringing exposure to local artists.

“I believe Ybor is once again in transition — and for the better,” said Tony LaColla, president of the Historic Ybor Neighborhood Civic Association. “There is a rebirth here, and Ybor is going to emerge better than ever.”

Ybor business owners are striving to make a change in Tampa’s oldest neighborhood and the negative nightclub reputation is drawing to a close, said LaColla.

Square One Creative recruiters personally selected the majority of the featured performers while a few others responded to an open-call audition, said Tilo.

Virgin 2.0 includes performances by University of Tampa’s dance department, Suzanne Alvarez, Namaste Yoga Studio and Jeremy Gloff and fashion designs by Melissa Oraath and Tragik Designs.

Stonewood Tavern & Grille, the Spaghetti Warehouse, Mema’s Alaskan Tacos and Streetcar Charlie’s Bar & Grille will cater the event.

Admission is free and all ages are encouraged to attend. Doors open at 7 p.m. Saturday and the festivities continue until midnight. For more information, check out