The Tampa Museum of Art is located in revitalized downtown Tampa and is part of the Tampa Riverwalk, which includes such things as Glazer Children’s Museum, Curtis Hixon Park, and the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts.
Location: 120 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL 33602
Admission: Adult $15.00 | Students $5.00| College Students FREE | Seniors (Ages 65+), Military, & FL Educators $7.50
Hours: Mon – Thurs, 11:00 am – 7:00pm| Fri, 11:00am – 10:00pm | Sat – Sun, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
- I was able to attend free via Bank of America’s “Museums On Us” program, which I wrote about here.
- College students get in free with a student ID.
- The Art on the House program takes place every Friday evening from 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, in which admission is pay-as-you-will.
- The museum participates in the Blue Star Museum program, in which certain times of the year active duty personnel and their families get free admission (check the museum’s website for further details).
- The museum participates in Fourth Friday which is a downtown Tampa celebration every 4th Friday evening, in which there is free admission to many of the downtown cultural exhibits.
- If you stay at either the Aloft Tampa Downtown or the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk hotel you get free admission
My Visit To The Tampa Museum Of Art
I love the visual arts, although I’m admittedly really, really bad at them. The reason I am stating this is because this is not the article for you if your are looking for sound, technical critiques of the works. However, if you want to get some information for what you can expect for your visit, well then, this is the article for you!
I have done my best to capture my thoughts and feelings in lieu of actual art critique for this article. Yeah!
So without further, ado, let’s proceed.
First off, the building–
Honestly, my first critical impression of the building was, well, it’s rather bland. I mean, it looks like a billion or so soda cans were smelted down and then constructed into this rectangular building. Upon reflection, I’ve considered three things.
- I’m reminded of the novel The Fountainhead and how the architectural protagonist, Howard Roark, refused to use traditional means in his designs because they no longer made any sense given the modern technology and available materials. Maybe that’s what is going on here.
- Given the no frills design, it does make for a nice blank canvas on which to showcase the works of art on.
- It looks really cool at night.
Also, the building has won a number of architectural honors, including the American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture, which, from what I understand, is a big deal.
Moving inside there is a lobby, café, and ticket counter. I presented my Bank of America debit card to gain entry using the “Museums On Us” program and collected my unique ticket, which was a sticker that I had to put onto my shirt.
From there, I could either take a lame elevator to the second floor and a really cool staircase to the second floor. So I took the staircase.
The first work of art I was confronted with dangled from the ceiling and was called “Kiss and Tell” by Wolfgang Flad. I imagine, from my uninformed point of view, that this work is about two intertwined, passionate lovers in the throes of passionate things, or something. Anyway, it was huge and was interesting enough to look at to occupy a few minutes of my time.
Continuing on, I explored what afterwards would be my favorite exhibits: The Greek and Roman Antiquities Collection and The Classical World Collection. It was phenomenal.
There were also a number of interesting pottery pieces. To me it is incredible that these pieces can be found, a couple thousand years later, and still be intact.
There was also a mummy coffin:
One of the large halls displayed photographs of Florida landscapes and people through the years, which I found disappointing at first and then upon reflection, fascinating.
(In my experience with this museum, as a lay person looking at the modern art, I often felt this emotional pattern: disappointment/dismissiveness and then profound fascination after reflection.)
Take the below painting for example, which is by James Rosenquist, who was a part-time Floridian. (There is a whole in memoriam exhibit honoring his work).
At first, I didn’t think much of it. But then I thought about it more, like a puzzle. I feel I decoded the red tire-mark and the New York/Tampa area. I’m still figuring out the rope. And why does the green plant overlay New York and the black dots, which makes me think of pollution, underlay Tampa? Shouldn’t that be reversed? What’s going on here?!!
See, this stuff is thought provoking when you give it time.
I was a little disappointed that a large part of the museum was cordoned off during my visit, even though on a logical level I understood that it’s the only way to rotate in fresh collections. Overall, though, that did not hamper my experience. I thought the Tampa Art Museum was really cool and I can recommend it for others to visit, although I recommend trying to take advantage of some of the free entry strategies outlined in the Quick Tips section, as $15 per adult is a pretty steep price to pay, in my humble opinion.
So, for the excellent Roman and Greek section, other interesting pieces of work, and multiple options for free entry, I award The Tampa Museum of Art three out of five broken Mold-A-Matic machines! (For this joke reference click here.)
But, in seriousness, The Tampa Museum of Art was quite impressive and I appreciated how it showcased Tampa artists. And the fun thing is that there are a few other nearby attractions as well that are within walking distance: Glazer Children’s Museum, Henry B. Plant Museum, and the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. All of which are worth a trip in themselves.
Well, thanks for reading!