Visiting the Dalí and Imagine Museums in St. Petersburg, Florida
This past weekend, I got to attend the annual Parenting Media Association conference in St. Petersburg. This is my third year to attend the conference but was the first year I had time to do some exploring! Usually, we spend our precious free time down by the beach. This year, I had to go up a day early, plus it was CHILLY, so visiting some local attractions sounded more appealing than shivering on the shore. I ended up visiting The Dalí Museum and The Imagine Museum.
As soon as my flight arrived in the Tampa airport, I took an Uber to the Salvador Dalí Museum. The building itself is stunning. According to the museum website, AOL Travel News named it “one of the top buildings to see in your lifetime.” The museum’s signature feature is a “geodesic glass bubble” named The Enigma.
In addition to its memorable architecture, the museum itself houses 2,400 works by Dalí. Of course, not all of these were on display at the time, but they did have a wonderful collection on view. It was interesting to see how Dalí’s style changed over his career, beginning with more realistic works before becoming more surrealist.
The small garden outside the building was also enjoyable. It includes a giant mustache and other sculpture.
Had to brave the rain to get outside!
Oh, and lest I forget: There is also a cafe specializing in Spanish cuisine. This was a huge bonus after skipping lunch due to traveling. They also offered free lockers outside the museum that were easy to use and big enough to store my carry-on in.
When Gathering Place was in the running for “Best New Attraction of 2018,” The Imagine Museum was another candidate. Consequently, I’d been eager to check it out!
The Imagine Museum is located fairly close to the Dalí Museum and houses a rich collection of contemporary glass works. One of my favorite things about this museum is how different all the pieces are, due to the nature of the medium. Who knew glass could do so much! This is way beyond your standard spherical paperweight (not that I’m hating on those! The paperweights they do have on display are stunning!).
Artist: Paul Stankard
Another thing that impressed me is how the museum weaved the concept of Imagination throughout all of its exhibits. This included quotes on the walls about color and creativity, question prompts, thought-provoking cards you could pick up and take with you, etc.
Artist: Therman Statom
Several works invited viewers to think about their place in the world. For example, could there be alien life?
There was a whole hallway of aliens created by artist Martin Janecky
One long hallway on the second floor displayed a series of circular “plates,” all of which had different faces on them. On one end of the hallway, these plates included themes of nature. Gradually, they became more technology-focused. Instead of human faces, they displayed cyborg faces, incorporating microchips, etc.
I believe these works were made or at least designed by Trish Duggan, who founded the museum.
Two visiting exhibits were on display when I was there. The first, Bertil Vallien:Passage included works by a Swedish glass artist and designer. Motifs in Vallien’s works include ships, extraterrestrial life, the god Janus and others.
My favorite room in this exhibit housed “The Watchers,” towering, humanoid glass figures that all faced one direction. Walking through them was kind of an eerie experience!
Bertil Vallien: Passage will be on display through December 26, 2020.
The other visiting exhibit was Karen LaMonte: Floating World. LaMonte makes life-size kimonos using different materials: glass, ceramic, bronze, etc. According to the museum website, “Her art explores themes of presence and absence, beauty and ephemerality, through the physicality of the human body and its environment.” (Follow her on Instagram: @karenlamonte.artist)
I can’t tell you how much I loved the Imagine Museum. If you only have time to visit one of these museums…my vote would be for that one. Although I’m not sure if that would be a popular opinion or not!
Artist: Emily Brock
Also, another thing I loved about the Imagine Museum is how close you could get to the pieces. Because they were placed throughout the rooms, rather than stuck against the wall, you could literally peer over or into many of them. All of the pedestals sported “DO NOT TOUCH” signs, but I don’t remember any tape on the floor indicating that you could only get within so many feet of them.
Artist: Rik Allen
On the other hand, you should probably take that into consideration before bringing a young child who may have a hard time refraining from touching things!
Artists: Christina Bothwell & Robert Bender
Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (Open Thursdays until 8 p.m.) They have some special hours during the month of March 2020 that you can find here.
Admission: Ages 18-65 $25; Seniors 65+, Military, Police, Firefighters, Educators and Students ages 18+, all with ID $23; Children 13-17 $18; Children 6-12 $10; Children 5 and under FREE.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Open on Thursday until 8 p.m.); Open Sunday, 12-5 p.m.
Admission: Adults $15; Seniors (65+) and Military w/ ID $13; College Student with ID and children ages 7-18 $10; Kids 6 and under FREE.
Artist: Karen LaMonte