The Dali Museum is a big part of tourism, culture in Tampa Bay

Pinellas County

Salvador Dali is considered to be one of the five most important artists of the 20th Century. Did you know much of his work can be seen right here in our area?

This Spanish artist has people from all over the world saying Vamos Tampa Bay!

If you head to St. Pete you’ll run into a very interesting building with a large glass dome. Inside you’ll find a classic car with a scuba driver, and a helical staircase in a sunlit atrium. This is the Dali Museum. It’s located at One Dali Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

“He is part of 20th Century culture,” says Peter Tush, the curator of education at the Dali.

To understand the art that hangs on these walls it helps to know Salvador Dali. Born in the Catalonia region of Spain his art took him all over the world.

“For the rest of his life, even when he spent time in America and when he would spend time in Paris, it was always Spain that he came back to. The most important link throughout his entire life,” says Tush.

The follow up to one of his most well-known paintings, the Persistence of Memory, is at the Dali. He painted The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory more than 20 years later.

“It still has the melting watches, but here they become more brittle, like glass rather than melting like cheese,” explains Tush.

It’s this and other of his works in surrealism that continue to touch and inspire our modern day art and media.

“Inception. Exactly. And the Matrix, and all of those movies that with the mind, the unconscious reality/unreality Dali is somehow or another there,” says Tush.

“He has fun with things. Which is, you know, most artists, with good reason, are very serious about what they care about and what they’re passionate about. Dali was very passionate about being fun,” says Tush

All that fun has been housed in The Dali since 2011 when a much safer and hurricane proof location was needed. The original museum went up in 1982.

The Dali is a big tourist attraction. It’s brought in 400,000 visitors and $140 million tourism dollars to the bay area each year.  

“He’s a game player, and a prankster and I think that really does appeal to our audience which is why we’re still so popular. It’s a wonderful thing,” says Tush.

Dali never actually made it to St. Pete, but instead, this location was chosen because it’s similar in some ways to the Spanish coastline where he grew up.

“I think it’s something that makes us a really important community player in relation to Hispanic culture and the celebration of all things that come from Spain and from Spanish speaking countries,” says Tush.

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