New Dali Museum ramps up St. Petersburg’s art scene

City Life Reflects Art

Time melted away as we painted our crude versions of Dali’s famous limp clocks from “Persistence of Memory.”This surreal thing is harder than it looks!

Just hours away from the 1/11/11 1:11 p.m. opening of the new Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, our hosts had a group of us journalists from around the world getting elbow-deep in Dali at a place on Central Avenue called Painting with a Twist, where you can learn to paint while sipping whatever you bring in.

I could have used something strong, the way my oeuvre was turning out.

Along Central Avenue and intersecting bayfront Beach Drive in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, the effect Dali has had on the town since a collection of his work first arrived in1980 is exceedingly evident.

Before Dali, retirement homes and iconic green benches characterized the town’s failing health.

“Pelicans. Lots of pelicans. Bronze pelicans, pelican paintings,” Dali museum director Hank Hine describes the art scene back in that time.

Then came that day when young local lawyer Jim Martin read an article in the Wall Street Journal reporting that an Ohio couple was having problems giving awaya 1,400-piece collection of original Salvador Dali works.

The usual crowd...

Collectors and patrons, A. Reynolds and Eleanor R. Morse, required only that the collection remain intact, which made housing it difficult for most existing art museums.

At Martin’s urging, the collection ended up in a 30,000-square-foot home on Tampa Bay. Read more of this post