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Top 5 Tampa Bay Art Museums

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From an internationally recognized museum complex set on a 66-acre estate on Sarasota Bay to the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí, the Tampa Bay area offers art lovers several superlative venues to appreciate masterpieces of the past as well as works by today’s foremost artists.

1. John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art

Situated on the shore of Sarasota Bay, this 66-acre complex boasts 21 galleries featuring European, American and Asian works of art. In addition to the Museum of Art, the compound also includes Ca d'Zan Mansion, the Ringlings' waterfront residence designed and constructed in 1926 and restored in 2002; the Circus Museum, devoted to documenting the history of the circus; the Treviso Restaurant and the Banyan Cafe; and two gift shops.

2. Salvador Dalí Museum

The permanent home of the world's largest collection of works by Dalí, the Salvador Dalí Museum's inventory includes 96 oil paintings, more than 100 watercolors and drawings and 1,300 graphics, photographs, sculptures and objects d'art. The museum is situated on the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg.

3. Tampa Museum of Art

The Tampa Museum of Art currently resides in an interim location while a new facility is under construction. The permanent collection is in storage or on loan, but the museum will continue to host exhibitions at its temporary home.

4. Contemporary Art Museum at the University of South Florida

Situated next to the USF College of Visual and Performing Arts in Tampa, the Contemporary Art Museum's permanent collection encompasses more than 5,000 objects of contemporary graphics, works on paper, sculpture multiples and photography. Featured works include those by acclaimed artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg. The museum also boasts an extensive sampling of contemporary photography and African art. Since the museum closes between exhibitions, guests should call when planning a visit.

5. St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts

Established by Margaret Acheson Stuart, the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts' collection includes fine examples of 17th, 18th and 19th century European art; 19th and 20th century American art; photography; Greek and Roman antiquities; and pre-Columbian and Asian art.
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