I don’t work for the greater Tampa Bay tourism board.
Most tourists visit our metro area for the weather and to spend a few days on our gorgeous beaches. First they take the kids to Orlando then they drive the 90 minutes here for a bit of rest and relaxation on St. Pete or Clearwater Beach.
Nobody visits us for the culture. Usually it’s to visit Nana and Poppa.
We do have a hidden jewel however – one well worth the visit for those so inclined.
The Dali Museum on the waterfront in St. Pete.
The Dali Museum is home to 7 of the 18 “masterwork” paintings by Dalí (including The Hallucinogenic Toreador and The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus), the most of any museum in the world. To be considered a masterwork these paintings must measure at least 5 feet (1.5 m) in any direction, and have been worked on for over a year.
The museum’s collection includes 96 oil paintings, over 100 watercolors and drawings, 1,300 graphics, photographs, sculptures and objets d’art, and an extensive archival library. Permanent collection displays are periodically rotated, and several temporary shows are mounted each year.
Our Dali has the largest collection of his work outside of his home country.
The collection was acquired over the years by A. Reynolds Morse and his wife Eleanor of Cleveland beginning in 1942. They loved the artist’s work and became close friends and patrons. In 1972 the Morse’ open a museum adjacent to their office building in Beachwood, Ohio. By the end of the decade with an overwhelming number of visitors, the Morses decided to again move their collection.
After a search that drew national attention, a marine warehouse in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida was rehabilitated and the museum opened on March 7, 1982.
In mid-2008, a new location for the Dali museum was announced. Designed by Yann Weymouth of the architectural firm HOK, it was built on the downtown waterfront next to the Mahaffey Theater. The new, larger and more storm-secure museum opened on January 11, 2011. Reportedly costing over $30 million, this structure features a large glass entryway and skylight made of 1.5 inch thick glass.
Referred to as the “Enigma”, the glass entryway is 75 feet tall and encompasses a spiral staircase. The remaining walls are composed of 18-inch thick concrete, designed to protect the collection from hurricanes.
With the exception of the Dalí Theater-Museum created by Dalí himself in his home town of Figueres, Catalonia, Spain, St. Petersburg’s Dalí Museum has the world’s largest collections of Dalí’s works.
So you see, we are not entirely yokels and old cranks.
The museum is well worth the visit, both for the art and the architecture.
For Dali fans, it is a must see!
So come to our beaches; visit our strip joints; watch the sun set over some cold ones – and spend a day viewing some of the most magnificent art this side of Spain.
“Dali DiscoveryOfAmerica”. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dali_DiscoveryOfAmerica.jpg#/media/File:Dali_DiscoveryOfAmerica.jpg
“The Hallucinogenic Toreador” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Hallucinogenic_Toreador.png#/media/File:The_Hallucinogenic_Toreador.png
“The Ecumenical Council by Salvador Dali” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Ecumenical_Council_by_Salvador_Dali.jpg#/media/File:The_Ecumenical_Council_by_Salvador_Dali.jpg