Historical significance and international influence makes the city interesting for an eclectic collection of art. From local gems to international sensations, here are eight art galleries not to be missed while in Tampa, Florida.
Space may be minimal but curators manage to make the most of the display area by featuring really interesting works of art and installing it in creative ways. Based on the grounds of the bustling Hillsborough Community College Campus there is always activity that balances well with the creative energy exhibited here. The only drawback to the campus connection is that fact that the gallery remains dark during extended holiday breaks when classes are suspended.
The setting for the Tempus Projects is a single-story converted garage with openings on two sides that ensure it is well lit and welcoming. The clean, open design creates a really effective exhibit space but also allows for a flow for the crowds that gather for special events held here. Neatly tucked away from busy Florida Avenue, the building can be easily missed but just look for the steady stream of people who show up for whatever may be happening within its walls.
Located in Tampa’s historic district, the Ybor City Museum State Park consists of the 1923-era Ferlita Bakery building, the casita of an immigrant cigar worker, a main exhibit space and a Mediterranean-style garden. Self-guided tours enlighten guests about the city’s one-time reputation as the ‘City Capital of the World’ and funds also help preserve the history for future generations to come.
The Ritz isn’t technically a museum, it’s a live concert event venue built in 1917 and located in the historic district of Ybor City. In 1973, the building was entered into the Register of Historic Places, followed by the National Historic Landmark District in 1989. In 2007, the space underwent a two million dollar renovation, boosting it to premier status in the city. It's a grandiose place to see concerts and live music when visiting the Tampa Bay area, as the building itself commands respect.
Founded in 1979 and reopening in a newly built and architecturally renowned building in 2010, the Tampa Museum of Art provides public programs with a strong focus on antiquities, modern and contemporary art. Having the reputation of embracing contemporary photography and new media, the Tampa Art Museum is the regions largest contemporary gallery. More than half of the programs at the museum are free of charge, exposing the regional art community to internationally acclaimed special exhibits.
This national historic landmark, formerly known as the Tampa Bay Hotel, offers docent and audio tours describing the Moorish architect, gardens and Victorian opulence of the Henry B. Plant Museum. Named appropriately after its railroad tycoon proprietor, the once-hotel hosted famous people such as Teddy Roosevelt and Babe Ruth. The museum invites guests to step back in time and take a first-hand look at the Gilded Age and its opulence.
The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts is a museum dedicated to preserving and exhibiting historic and contemporary photographic works by nationally and internationally known artists, focusing on photos that are central to contemporary life and culture. Admission price is a ten-dollar for adults and eight-dollar for kids suggested donation and the museum is open to the public daily.
For history buffs, or those who enjoyed reading ‘Swamplandia’, the Cracker Country Living Museum is a must. This museum pays tribute to the native Caucasian Floridians, aka: Crakers, and their way of settler life on the land. Offering reenactments of the early Florida livelihoods, which revolved around chores, livestock tending, family and community, the museum is open on select days and available for privately scheduled tours.