29 July 2011
Posted by Paul Anater at 6:00 AM
Greater Tampa is an enormous metropolitan area, I'm not kidding when I say it can take an hour-and-a-half to get from one side of it to the other. That's an hour-and-a-half when there's no traffic.
There are a fair number of people here in the design business who know one another through Twitter and we've been threatening to get together for quite a while. Commutes are always a sticking point as we live scattered from North Tampa to Sarasota (that's a distance of 60+ miles) but on July 14th, a critical mass of us gathered in Downtown St. Pete for a face to face meeting. A first for most of those in attendance. I was just happy to be able to walk to our meeting place.
Downtown St. Petersburg has the only permanent collection of the work of Dale Chihuly in a museum setting in the world, and our evening started out there. So at 6:30, Eric Miller, Carmen Christensen, Tom Wiebe, Michelle Wiebe, Jeremy Parcels, Ginny Powell and I met for an evening of art and tapas. The tapas came later.
Many thanks to JoAnn Locktov (publicist to the stars) and Wayne Atherholt (Marketing Director at the Chihuly Collection) for making all of that possible. We were fortunate to have Wayne guide us through the museum privately and his tour began with an introduction to the art scene in downtown St. Pete. That's a drum I beat regularly and I was thrilled to have a fellow believer in St. Pete start out our evening.
The collection is just big enough to show a retrospective of Chihuly's work, but not so large that it's overwhelming. I have to admit that when the Collection opened last year (I wrote about it here and here), I was a bit of a Chihuly skeptic. But I'm not a skeptic anymore.
Dale Chihuly's art is informed by the artistic tradition and in his creations, you can see echoes of everything from Native American Baskets to gondoliers in Venice. It's at once mythic and playful, contemplative and jarring, grounded and fantastical. We're fortunate to have the Chihuly Collection here and I'm fortunate to live within walking distance to it.
I'm fortunate too to meet such great people through my social media involvements and it's great to have so many so (relatively) close.
If you find yourself on the west coast of Florida, make it a point to drop in on the Chihuly Collection.