Daydreaming: A Reason to Go to St. Petersburg

I came across this article about a new exhibit at the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg and thought I should bring it to your attention.

This photo was obtained from Flickr user “CityofStPete” and is used under the Creative Commons license.

This photo was obtained from Flickr user “CityofStPete” and is used under the Creative Commons license.

The museum itself has an interesting story. According to Wikipedia,

Shortly before marrying in 1942, A. Reynolds Morse and Eleanor R. Morse attended a Dalí retrospective at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Intrigued by the artist’s subject matter, and impressed by his draftsmanship, they bought their first painting a year later. The purchase began a 40-year relationship as patrons and friends of Dalí that resulted in a comprehensive collection of original Dalí work.

Until 1971, the Morses displayed their collection in their Cleveland, Ohio, home. When they loaned over 200 pieces to a Dalí retrospective in 1965, they realized that 25 years of collecting produced a mini-retrospective that needed a permanent home.

Ultimately, the Morses opened a museum in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. With the exception of the Dalí Theater-Museum created by Dalí himself in his hometown of Figueres, Catalonia, Spain, St. Petersburg’s Dalí Museum has the world’s largest collections of Dalí’s works.

This boggles the mind.

But the article …

Salvador Dalí took surrealism to a whole new level, exploring the dark spots and infinite possibilities of the human psyche with paintings that feel like they capture dreams. Now, thanks to virtual reality, visitors at The Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, can walk into a living Dalí painting, blurring the line of consciousness in his work even more.

The interactive painting is part of an exhibit that explores the surrealist’s unlikely friendship and creative partnership with Walt Disney. Running until June 12, “Disney and Dalí: Architects of the Imagination,” presents sketches, paintings, correspondence, and other material that tracks the collaboration of the two creative titans. The pair even collaborated on an animated short in the 1940s called Destino.

Well, that’s enough right there, don’t you think? Hop on a Southwest flight in Nashville and you can be on the ground in Tampa—just across the bay from St. Pete—in two hours. But I’ve seen very little of Florida, and all those highways on bridges across large bodies of water just fascinate me. So why not rent a car, drive across to St. Pete, see the museum, then do a leisurely drive across and around the bay, just to round things out?

You know … just for fun.

I’m the sort of person who—when I have time—just likes to “drive around and look at houses” here at home, so you can imagine that just driving slow through someone else’s town and looking at what there is to see is something I’d find fun. Stopping at a park to stretch the legs. Pulling in to a café that looks yummy. Look, honey, at that gorgeous garden!

So I’d be happy with that. But a quick google of St. Petersburg/Tampa tourism yields plenty more. Here are a few ideas to get things started:

And that’s without looking any farther afield than St. Pete. A friend of mine lives in Dunedin—he calls it Delightful Dunedin—just twenty-five miles up the road, and I’d have to swing by to say hi. Pet some doggies, or go watch the Toronto Blue Jays in spring training …

But wait—we’re just talkin’ about a weekend, and it’s that interactive display at the Dalí that I’m interested in. You may be too. It’s ON until June 12, 2016. Go!