The Tampa Bay area is home to several large art museums, but it’s rare that art-lovers make the hour-long drive to see what the Sarasota art scene has to offer — until now.
Several artists from Tampa and St. Petersburg traveled over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Aug. 17 to The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. The occasion was the Circle Member Preview of an installment geared towards bridging the gap between these art communities.
“Skyway,” the appropriately-named new exhibit for which they gathered, is a collaboration between The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg and the Tampa Museum of Art. It started with a public call to artists that received more than 300 submissions, which were then narrowed down to 100 by the curators from the three museums.
Today, works from Tampa and St. Petersburg-area artists are on display in The Ringling’s Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Gallery of Contemporary Art, an installment that runs until Oct. 15.
Circle members — supporters who donate $2,500-$10,000 a year to the museum — began their evening with a reception on the terrace of the museum courtyard. Guests mingled, enjoyed drinks and light bites and learned more about the exhibit from Executive Director Steven High and Curator Chris Jones.
“I hope it’s just the beginning of future collaborations between us,” High said.
He noted that this is the first collaboration of its kind to his knowledge, and also pointed out that it’s only the second installment to call The Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Gallery of Contemporary Art home.
Curator Chris Jones said the goal is to highlight the best artists in this region, but it started as more of an experiment to see if they could actually pull off a collaborative exhibit at all three museums simultaneously.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” Jones said.