The "Cultural Coast" for Museums

Arts | Culture

Why is the Sarasota Region called “The Cultural Coast?”

Sarasota is known as the "Cultural Coast" because it has a rich and diverse cultural scene with numerous art museums, theaters, galleries, and performance venues.

The city is home to several major cultural institutions such as the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, which houses a vast collection of Baroque art, as well as the Circus Museum, which showcases the history of the Ringling Brothers Circus. The Sarasota Opera, the Sarasota Ballet, and the Sarasota Orchestra are also major cultural organizations that contribute to the city's reputation as a cultural hub.

In addition to these major institutions, Sarasota is also home to many independent galleries and theaters that showcase a wide variety of art and performances, from contemporary art to classical music and theater productions.

Overall, the city's dedication to the arts, along with its vibrant and supportive cultural community, has earned it the nickname of the "Cultural Coast" and made it a popular destination for artists and art enthusiasts from around the world.

 

See our “Performing Art’s” page for complete information on area venues.  

MUSEUMS

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

The museum was founded in 1946 and is named after its founder, William H. Bishop. The museum is dedicated to promoting scientific knowledge and cultural awareness through its collections, exhibitions, and educational programs.

The museum features several permanent exhibits, including a collection of fossils, minerals, and shells from around the world. The museum also has a collection of over 100,000 archaeological artifacts, which include objects from the prehistoric cultures of Florida's native peoples.

One of the main attractions of the museum is the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Aquarium, which is home to several rescued manatees that are undergoing rehabilitation before being released back into the wild. Visitors can watch the manatees being cared for and learn about the efforts to protect these gentle creatures.

The museum also features temporary exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing a variety of topics ranging from art and history to science and technology. The museum's educational programs include guided tours, workshops, and lectures, designed for visitors of all ages.

The Ringling Museum of Art

The museum was established in 1927 by John and Mable Ringling, who were the founders of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The museum is part of the larger Ringling complex, which also includes a circus museum, Ca' D'Zan mansion, and the historic Asolo Theater.

The Ringling Museum of Art features a wide range of art collections and exhibitions, with a focus on European art from the 16th to the 20th centuries. The museum's permanent collection includes works by many famous artists, including Rubens, Velazquez, El Greco, and Titian. The museum also has a collection of Asian art, including works from China, Japan, and Korea.

One of the museum's most famous works is the painting "The Ringling Madonna" by Bartolomeo Vivarini, which was acquired by John Ringling in 1924 and is now one of the museum's most treasured possessions.

In addition to its permanent collection, the museum hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year, featuring works by contemporary artists as well as historical and cultural exhibitions. The museum also offers educational programs, including guided tours, lectures, and workshops.

The Ringling Museum of Art is located on a 66-acre estate on Sarasota Bay, with views of the water and the Gulf of Mexico. The museum is open to the public six days a week and admission fees vary based on age and membership status.

The Ringling Circus Museum

The museum is part of the larger Ringling complex, which also includes the Ringling Museum of Art, Ca' d'Zan mansion, and the historic Asolo Theater.

The museum features a wide range of exhibits, including costumes, posters, and other memorabilia from the circus. The museum's most famous exhibit is the world's largest miniature circus, which features over 44,000 individual pieces and is a replica of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the 1920s.

The museum also has a collection of circus wagons, including the original "Wisconsin," the first elephant-pulled wagon used by the Ringling Bros. circus. Visitors can also see a collection of antique circus cars, including a 1905 Pullman car that was used by the circus to transport performers and animals between cities.

In addition to its exhibits, the museum offers a variety of educational programs, including guided tours and workshops. The museum also hosts special events throughout the year, including the annual Circus Sarasota, which features performances by circus artists from around the world.

The Ca' d'Zan

Ca' d'Zan is a historic mansion located on the grounds of the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. The mansion was built in the 1920s by John Ringling, who was the founder of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and his wife, Mable.

The mansion was designed in the Venetian Gothic style and is decorated with ornate details and lavish furnishings. The mansion features 56 rooms, including 41 rooms in the main house and 15 rooms in the adjacent guest house. The mansion also has several balconies and terraces that offer stunning views of Sarasota Bay.

One of the most impressive rooms in the mansion is the Grand Court, which features a large central courtyard surrounded by a covered arcade. The room is decorated with murals and ornate details and is often used for special events and weddings.

After John Ringling's death in 1936, the mansion fell into disrepair and was eventually donated to the state of Florida in the 1950s. In the 1990s, a major restoration project was undertaken to restore the mansion to its former glory.

Today, Ca' d'Zan is open to the public for tours, allowing visitors to see the opulent living quarters and learn about the history of the Ringling family. The mansion is also used for special events and weddings throughout the year.

The Gamble Plantation Historic State Park

The Gamble Plantation Historic State Park, also known as the Gamble Mansion, is a historic site located in Ellenton, Florida, just south of Tampa and north of Sarasota. It is the only surviving antebellum plantation house in South Florida. Here's some information about the Gamble Plantation:

  1. History: The Gamble Plantation was originally built in the 1840s by Major Robert Gamble and served as a sugar plantation. The plantation was situated on a 3,500-acre estate and included a sugar mill, slave quarters, and other outbuildings.

  2. Architecture: The mansion is a two-story Greek Revival-style structure with 10 rooms. It features distinctive columns, large windows, and a wrap-around porch. The materials used in construction include local pine and cedar.

  3. Sugar Industry: The plantation primarily focused on growing sugarcane and processing it into sugar and molasses. Slaves provided the labor for cultivating and harvesting the sugarcane.

  4. Confederate Hideout: During the Civil War, the mansion served as a hiding place for Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin and was a temporary headquarters for the Confederate Army. It provided refuge for Benjamin during his escape from Richmond, Virginia, after the fall of the Confederacy.

  5. Restoration and Preservation: In the 1920s, the United Daughters of the Confederacy purchased the property and restored the mansion. The State of Florida acquired the plantation in 1925 and turned it into a state park. Today, the Florida Park Service manages and maintains the Gamble Plantation Historic State Park.

  6. Guided Tours: Visitors to the Gamble Plantation can take guided tours of the mansion, which provide insights into the history and significance of the plantation. The tour includes the main house, the grounds, and the outbuildings.

  7. Surrounding Grounds: The state park encompasses the mansion and features picnic areas, walking trails, and a visitor center with exhibits showcasing the history of the plantation and the region.

Visiting the Gamble Plantation Historic State Park offers a glimpse into Florida's antebellum past, showcasing the lifestyle and history of a significant plantation during the 19th century.

Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy

The Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy is a unique museum located in Sarasota, Florida, USA. The museum was founded in 2015 by Marietta Lee, a local artist and collector, with the goal of providing a space for visitors to experience the joy and whimsy of art.

The museum features a collection of art and objects that are playful, colorful, and whimsical, including sculptures, paintings, and mixed media works. Many of the pieces in the collection are by contemporary artists, but there are also works by established artists from the 20th century, such as Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, and Joan Miro.

One of the most distinctive features of the museum is its garden, which is filled with sculptures, mosaics, and other works of art. The garden is designed to be a peaceful and inspiring space for visitors to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature and art.

In addition to its art collection, the museum offers a variety of educational programs and events, including workshops, lectures, and guided tours. The museum is also available for private events, such as weddings and corporate functions.

The Florida Railroad Museum

The Florida Railroad Museum, located in Parrish, Florida, is a popular attraction for train enthusiasts and history buffs. Here's some information about the Florida Railroad Museum:

  1. History: The Florida Railroad Museum was established in 1982 with the mission of preserving and interpreting Florida's railroad history. The museum operates on a section of the former Seaboard Air Line rail corridor, which was once an important railway route in the state.

  2. Collection: The museum houses a diverse collection of historic train cars and locomotives. Visitors can explore vintage passenger cars, freight cars, and even a caboose. Some of the notable pieces in the collection include steam locomotives, diesel locomotives, and various types of railcars.

  3. Train Rides: One of the highlights of visiting the Florida Railroad Museum is the opportunity to take a train ride. The museum offers regular excursion train rides along a scenic route, giving visitors a chance to experience the thrill of riding on vintage trains. These rides are usually themed, such as holiday-themed rides or special events like "Day Out with Thomas" for children.

  4. Special Events: The museum organizes a variety of special events throughout the year. These can include train-themed festivals, seasonal events, model train exhibits, and educational programs. They often host events that cater to families, train enthusiasts, and those interested in railway history.

  5. Educational Programs: The Florida Railroad Museum is committed to educating the public about the significance of railroads in Florida's history. They offer educational programs for school groups and have resources available to learn about railroad operations, maintenance, and history.

  6. Restoration Projects: The museum is involved in ongoing restoration projects to preserve and maintain historic railway equipment. Volunteers play a crucial role in these efforts, working to restore and maintain the collection.

  7. Gift Shop and Facilities: The museum has a gift shop where visitors can purchase train-themed memorabilia, books, and other railroad-related items. They also have facilities, including a picnic area and a depot building that houses exhibits and displays.

Whether you are a train enthusiast, history lover, or simply looking for a unique experience, the Florida Railroad Museum offers a chance to step back in time and appreciate the rich railroad heritage of the region.

Sarasota Classic Car Museum

The Sarasota Classic Car Museum features a collection of over 75 vintage and classic cars. The museum was founded in 1953 and is one of the oldest continuously operating car museums in the country.

The museum's collection includes a variety of cars from different eras, including pre-World War II cars, classic American cars from the 1950s and 1960s, and exotic sports cars from the 1970s and 1980s. Some of the most notable cars in the collection include a 1901 Gottlieb Daimler, a 1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom I, a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz, and a 1962 Lincoln Continental.

In addition to its car collection, the museum also features a variety of exhibits and displays that highlight the history of the automobile, including engines, transmissions, and other mechanical components. The museum also has a collection of vintage gas pumps and advertising signs, as well as a gift shop that sells car-related merchandise.

The Sarasota Classic Car Museum is open to the public seven days a week, with admission fees varying based on age and membership status. The museum is a popular destination for car enthusiasts, families, and anyone interested in the history of the automobile. The museum also hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, including car shows, cruise-ins, and auctions.

The Museum of Fine Arts

The St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) was established in 1965 and has since become one of the premier art museums in the state of Florida. The MFA features a wide range of art collections and exhibitions, ranging from ancient to contemporary art.

The museum's permanent collection includes works from a variety of cultures, including American, European, and Asian art. Some of the notable pieces in the collection include works by Salvador Dali, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Monet. The MFA also has an extensive collection of decorative arts, featuring ceramics, glass, and furniture from around the world.

In addition to its permanent collection, the museum hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing works from a variety of artists and art movements. The museum also offers educational programs, including lectures, workshops, and tours for visitors of all ages.

The Salvador Dali Museum

The Salvador Dali Museum is a museum dedicated to the life and works of the Spanish artist Salvador Dali, located in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA. The museum was founded by a local businessman, Reynolds Morse, and his wife Eleanor, who were friends with Dali and his wife, Gala.

The museum's collection includes over 2,000 works by Dali, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, and photographs. The museum's most famous piece is the painting "The Hallucinogenic Toreador," which is on permanent display in a specially designed gallery. The museum also has a collection of works by other artists, including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, and Max Ernst, who were part of Dali's circle of friends and collaborators.

The museum building itself is a work of art, designed by architect Yann Weymouth in collaboration with Dali's estate. The building features a distinctive glass geodesic dome, which is made up of more than 1,000 triangular pieces of glass, and is intended to evoke the idea of a giant Dali-esque egg.

The Salvador Dali Museum offers a variety of educational programs, including tours, lectures, and workshops, for visitors of all ages. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing works by Dali and other artists.

The Dale Chihuly Museum

Chihuly's work is characterized by bold, bright colors and complex forms that often reference natural shapes and patterns. He is known for his large-scale installations, which can be found in public spaces and museums around the world.

One of Chihuly's most famous installations is the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit located at the Seattle Center in Seattle, Washington. The exhibit features a stunning array of Chihuly's glass sculptures and installations, set amidst a lush garden landscape.

Chihuly has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to the art world, including the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1977, and the prestigious James Smithson Bicentennial Medal from the Smithsonian Institution in 2010. His work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, and he continues to create new works and push the boundaries of the glassblowing medium.

The Tampa Museum of Art

The Tampa Museum of Art is a museum located in downtown Tampa that features a collection of modern and contemporary art. The museum was founded in 1979 and moved to its current location on the banks of the Hillsborough River in 2010.

The museum's collection includes over 4,000 works of art, ranging from ancient Greek and Roman art to contemporary art from around the world. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other types of media, with a particular focus on art from the Americas.

In addition to its permanent collection, the museum hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, featuring works by both established and emerging artists. The museum also offers a range of educational programs and events, including lectures, workshops, and guided tours.

One of the most distinctive features of the Tampa Museum of Art is its building, which was designed by architect Stanley Saitowitz. The building features a unique façade made up of perforated aluminum panels that create a striking pattern of light and shadow. Inside, the museum features a range of galleries, as well as a sculpture garden and a café overlooking the river.

The Henry B. Platt Museum

The Henry B. Plant Museum is a museum located in Tampa was originally built as the Tampa Bay Hotel in 1891. The hotel was designed by architect J.A. Wood and built by railroad magnate Henry B. Plant, who intended it to be a destination for wealthy tourists visiting Florida.

The hotel was a grand Victorian-style building, featuring ornate architecture, lavish furnishings, and extensive gardens. It quickly became a popular destination for tourists from around the world, attracting such notable guests as Teddy Roosevelt and Babe Ruth.

Today, the hotel serves as the Henry B. Plant Museum, which is dedicated to preserving the history of the hotel and the city of Tampa. The museum features a collection of original furnishings and artifacts from the hotel, as well as exhibits and displays that highlight the history of the Gilded Age and the growth of Florida's tourism industry.

One of the most popular exhibits in the museum is the "Palace in Paradise" exhibit, which features a replica of one of the hotel's original guest rooms, complete with period furnishings and decorations. Other exhibits focus on the hotel's architecture, the life and legacy of Henry B. Plant, and the social and cultural history of Tampa and the surrounding area.

The museum is a popular destination for history buffs, architecture enthusiasts, and anyone interested in the colorful history of Florida's tourism industry.

The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

The museum was founded in 2001 and features a collection of over 5,000 works of photographic art, ranging from classic black and white prints to contemporary digital images.

The museum's collection includes works by a wide range of photographers, including some of the most celebrated photographers of the 20th and 21st centuries. The collection covers a broad range of styles and genres, including documentary photography, fine art photography, and commercial photography.

In addition to its permanent collection, the FMoPA hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, featuring works by both established and emerging photographers. The museum also offers a range of educational programs and events, including lectures, workshops, and guided tours.

One of the unique features of the FMoPA is its location in the Cube, a distinctive glass building in the heart of downtown Tampa. The Cube was designed by architect Yann Weymouth and features a striking façade made up of 2,000 glass panels.

The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)

The museum features over 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibits, including a planetarium, an IMAX theater, and interactive exhibits on topics such as biology, physics, space exploration, and technology. MOSI also offers a range of educational programs and events, including summer camps, after-school programs, and workshops for educators.

One of the most distinctive features of MOSI is its Steampunks exhibit, which explores the intersection of art and technology. The exhibit features a range of interactive installations that blend science and art, such as a giant kaleidoscope, a laser harp, and a digital graffiti wall.

In addition to its permanent exhibits, MOSI hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, featuring interactive displays and hands-on activities for visitors of all ages. The museum also hosts a number of special events, such as science-themed festivals, movie screenings, and guest speaker presentations.

The Glazer Children's Museum

The Glazer Children's Museum is located in downtown Tampa. The museum was founded in 2010 and is named after its primary benefactor, the Glazer family. The museum is dedicated to providing hands-on, interactive exhibits and educational programs for children of all ages.

The museum features over 170 interactive exhibits, organized into themed galleries that explore topics such as art, science, engineering, and culture. The exhibits are designed to be engaging and educational, encouraging children to learn through play and exploration. Some of the most popular exhibits include a fire truck simulator, a water play area, and a mini supermarket where children can practice shopping and budgeting skills.

In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Glazer Children's Museum hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, featuring interactive displays and hands-on activities related to specific themes or subjects. The museum also offers a range of educational programs and events, including summer camps, after-school programs, and field trips for school groups.

One of the unique features of the museum is its focus on accessibility and inclusivity. The museum is designed to be fully accessible to children of all abilities, with exhibits and programs that are adapted for children with disabilities.

The Ybor City Museum

The museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history and culture of Ybor City, which was founded in the late 19th century as a cigar-manufacturing center by Cuban and Spanish immigrants.

The museum is housed in the former Ferlita Bakery building, which was constructed in 1923 and served as a bakery until 1973. The building was restored and converted into a museum in the 1980s, and now features exhibits and artifacts that explore the history of Ybor City and its diverse immigrant communities.

Some of the exhibits in the museum include a recreated cigar worker's house, an original cigar press, and displays on the social and cultural life of Ybor City during its heyday as a cigar-making hub. The museum also hosts a variety of events and programs throughout the year, including walking tours of the historic district, cultural festivals, and lectures on the history of Ybor City and its immigrant communities.

In addition to the main museum building, the Ybor City Museum also includes several other historic structures, including a cigar worker's cottage, a garden, and a museum store featuring books, souvenirs, and handcrafted items.

The museum is a popular destination for history buffs, cultural tourists, and anyone interested in learning more about the rich and diverse history of Ybor City and its immigrant communities.

 

 


The "Cultural Coast" for Museums

Arts | Culture

The "Cultural Coast" for Museums

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