Thursday, July 7, 2011

Re-Birthing By The Bay

Last Saturday, in one fell swoop, a friend and I completed the trifecta of downtown St. Petersburg art museums. First we viewed the shimmering glass creations of The Chihuly Collection, took a gelato break and later joined tourist throngs at the new house of Surrealism, the Dali Museum.

Those ultra-chic edifices have joined with the Palladian style Museum of Fine Art to make St. Pete a first class art mecca. Every year the city ranks as one of the primo art destinations for mid-sized metro areas. Not bad for a place formerly known for its shuffleboard courts and early bird specials.

Walking along Beach Drive it was easy to see the positive changes that have transformed the downtown bayfront. Sidewalk cafes vied for space with new art galleries and trendy clothing shops. Muscle boys, fresh from a run in Straub Park with their dogs, nursed Perriers while sneaking looks at passing glam girls. If not for the absence of Deco hotels, this had all the feel of a mini-South Beach look at me parade.

If you want to investigate the reasons for such visionary changes in this city, look no further than art. The Chihuly Collection would not be here if not for the encouragement and hard work of the Morean Art Center and its patrons. The Morean Art Center exists because of early and constant efforts of a group of area artists. Artists were and are the catalysts for creating cultural capital.

I go out of my way to tell people that sunny beaches didn’t do it. Condo mania didn’t do it. And baseball certainly didn’t do it. It was art folks.


sandifolk said...


Can't wait to explore St.Pete soon (my backyard neighbor.) Last time I went was about 15 years ago, to the Dali Museum, way before it's remodel.

Denis Gaston,from Clearwater, Fla. thanks so much for keeping all of us artists aware of what is going on in the Art world, right in our Community.If not for your up-dates I literally would not know what is going on.

Thank you:
For your sincere interest in sharing your knowledge with us all........

Sandi Ayres-Jacobsmeyer
Multi Media Artist
Largo, Florida

Michele T said...

You rock. Thanks for singing my song. It starts with ARTISTS.

Patton Hunter said...

Hooray. Finally a recognition of what is really making St. Pete soar and thrive. Thank you, Denis.