Celebrating 10 Years at the Dalí Museum

January 19, 2020 | By Steven Kenny

. . .

One possible reason Salvador Dalí painted melting watches was to comment on the elasticity of time. Or, perhaps the runniness of Camembert cheese. Either way, how quickly a decade passes!

On Monday, January 11, the Dalí Museum celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its iconic, world-renowned home here in St Petersburg. It was quite an occasion!

The museum opened in 1982 and its first home is now USFSP’s Harbor Hall, home to their Graphic Arts department. The event celebrating the move into their current home began with a procession around the perimeter of the building featuring a 40-foot long loaf of bread held aloft on the shoulders of 18 more-than-willing volunteers.

The loaf was punctuated with many examples of Dalí’s work that feature his beloved symbol. “Bread,” Dalí wrote in 1945, “has always been one of the oldest fetishistic and obsessive subjects in my work, the one to which I have remained the most faithful.”

In attendance were dignitaries, press and Dalí staff and volunteers suitably dressed for the occasion.

The assembled audience took their socially-distanced seats in the East Garden facing the impressive geodesic glass window called The Enigma. Kimberly Macuare, Master of Ceremonies and Director of the Dalí Innovation Labs, welcomed the congregation.

The overall theme for the day was vision. Looking ahead, what will the next 10 years bring?

Dalí Executive Director Hank Hine kicked things off with his own greeting and overview of the day’s significance. To date the museum has attracted three million visitors and generated 1.5 billion dollars in revenue for the Tampa Bay economy. Not bad for an investment of 40 million to design and construct the building.

. . .

What followed was a parade of speakers that amounted to a who’s who of Tampa Bay notables including:

. . .  – Rick Kriseman, Mayor of St Petersburg
. . .  – Gary Sasso, President and CEO of Carlton Fields
. . .  – Steve Hayes, President and CEO of VSPC
. . .  – Michael Greco, Pinellas County School Superintendent
. . .  – Maryann Ferenc, owner of Tampa’s Mise en Place restaurant
. . .  – Alison Barlow, Executive Director at St Pete Innovation District
. . .  – Brian Auld, President of Tampa Bay Rays
. . .  – Paul Tash, Chairman and CEO of Tampa Bay Times
. . .  – Tom James, Chairman Emeritus of the Dalí Museum
. . . Yann Weymouth, Director of St Pete Design Group
. . . 
Karen Johnston, Chair Dalí Museum Board

Each speaker offered their individual perspective on what the future may hold and their hopes for what may come. Their energy and enthusiasm was palpable. 

Yann Weymouth, the architect responsible for the design of the current building, gave few hints about the proposed expansion. Details are still being worked out.

Hank Hine summed it up in true Dalínian spirit. To paraphrase his remarks, true vision must embrace change. Artistically speaking, especially from Dalí’s point of view, there is not one single reality. Moving forward requires agility and creativity.

After an hour and a half of speechifying we all needed a drink. Miraculously, trays filled with glasses of cava, the traditional Spanish sparkling wine, appeared out of nowhere. We all merrily toasted to the Dalí Museum’s future. Here’s to another 10 years of wondrous exhibitions and growth!



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