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Inspiring Arts & Culture in St. Pete/Clearwater, Florida

Inspiring Arts & Culture in St. Pete/Clearwater, Florida
14 October 2021 James Brooke

Art lovers rejoice! St. Pete/Clearwater on Florida’s West Coast, home to America’s best beaches, also hosts a thriving arts and culture scene.

Compiled by Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, this guide showcases the latest openings and exhibitions in the area. From immersive art-meets-tech experiences to bold mural art and unique museums, those looking for a dose of culture will not be disappointed.

1. Immersive art-meets-technology at Fairgrounds St. Pete (open now)

Escape reality with brand-new Fairgrounds St. Pete in St. Petersburg’s Warehouse Arts District, a 15,000 ft artist-made environment where visitors can choose their own adventure. This immersive experience celebrates the “weird, wacky, and wonderful of Florida” with creativity and imagination.

With a 64+ range of exhibits, events, and workshops, Fairgrounds St. Pete is on a mission to become a cultural hub for immersive art experiences, using cutting-edge technology to showcase local artists’ work. The inaugural installation features artists from Florida and more than half feature work from women and/or people of colour. As a profit-sharing business, artists will receive a portion of ticket sales while their work is displayed at Fairgrounds.

2. Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement (open now)

(L-R: Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement; Petunias, 1920; Roycroft Exhibition)

The world’s only museum dedicated to the American Arts and Crafts Movement has opened in St. Pete/Clearwater on 7th September 2021.

The hotly anticipated Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement (MAACM) showcases over 2,000 remarkable examples of fine and decorative art produced between 1890-1930, when the arts and crafts movement swept the US.

MAACM’s permanent collection galleries and three temporary exhibition spaces display works created by notable movement trailblazers, with works including furniture, pottery, metalwork, leaded glass, paintings, and photography.

Located on the scenic waterfront in Downtown St. Pete, the MAACM joins a thriving local arts and culture scene. Designed by Tampa-based architect Alberto Alfonso, in collaboration with the museum’s founder and collector, Rudy Ciccarello, the five-storey museum features an incredible grand atrium and dramatic spiral staircase, plus event space, café, restaurant and garden with fountains.

3. SHINE® Mural Festival (October 2021)

(Murals from 2020 SHINE® Mural Festival, St. Pete/Clearwater)

Now in its seventh year and taking place every October, the SHINE® Mural Festival shines a light on art in public spaces, using the walls and streets around St. Pete as canvases for experimental and bold art works. This year 19 new murals will be added, including three “Bright Spot” projects designed to engage and inspire.

Showcasing the best of St. Pete’s vibrant and creative community, SHINE® is a world-class outdoor gallery featuring murals from local, national, and international artists. Since its debut, SHINE® and the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance have created more than 100 murals to inspire, delight and unite communities and visitors alike.

4. Andy Warhol at The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art (Oct 21 – Jan 22)

Pop art’s most famous artist, Andy Warhol, was fascinated by the American West – producing artworks, imagery, and objects based on his affinity for Western motifs. The Warhol’s West exhibition, on display at The James Museum on Central Avenue in St. Pete, includes several famous faces such as Geronimo, Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull, and Theodore Roosevelt, revealing some of the most understudied aspects of the artist’s work.

Daring, inspirational, and sometimes confrontational, Warhol’s Western work furthers our understanding of how the American West continues to infiltrate and influence public perceptions, through contemporary art, and popular culture.

5. ‘Picasso and the Allure of the South’ at The Dalí Museum (Jan 29-May 22, 2022)

In collaboration with the Musée national Picasso-Paris, the Dalí Museum St. Petersburg will host an ambitious exhibition, Picasso and the Allure of the South (Jan 29-May 22, 2022) showcasing revolutionary and prolific works influenced by the famous artist’s extensive journeys through northern Spain and France’s Mediterranean coast.

Highlights of the exhibition feature several works never before shown in the US, including portraits, landscapes, figural studies, paintings, collages, and drawings. The installation will also incorporate 45 historical photographs of Picasso, providing candid glimpses into his life, both in his studios, and with famous friends such as Jean Cocteau.

Dr Hank Hine, executive director of The Dalí said: “Picasso and the Allure of the South represents an exceedingly rare opportunity to experience masterworks by the artist through the innovative lens of place and cultural context.”

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About Visit St. Pete/Clearwater:
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater (VSPC) is the official destination marketing organisation of Pinellas County in Florida and covers 26 municipalities in the area. The region is located on the peninsula on Florida’s west coast, bordered by the Gulf of Mexico to the west and Tampa Bay to the east.

The area offers 35 miles of award-winning white-sandy beaches, exotic nature trails, culture and arts. It is home to independent restaurants, boutique shops and a unique craft beer trail running from Tarpon Springs to Treasure Island showcasing 40+ local breweries’ fresh artisanal beer. Both Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach have consistently been listed among the top 5 beaches in America, in the annual TripAdvisor Readers’ Choice Awards.

Boasting the largest collection of Dali artwork outside of Spain in the Dali Museum, the county has a significant art scene, with walking mural tours, regular exhibitions and the impressive Chihuly Collection of hand-blown glass sculptures.

The destination is renowned for sunshine and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the longest run of sunshine days, a massive 768.