MFA and three other Tampa Bay area art museums participate in For Freedoms’ “50 State Initiative” to encourage civic engagement, discourse and direct action by engaging the community
As American citizens, freedom is one of our most sacred and cherished values. To honor this value, the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg and three other Tampa Bay area art museums are participating in the For Freedoms group’s “50 State Initiative,” a nonpartisan platform for civic engagement, discourse and direct action that engages artists and the community with public art installations, exhibitions and local community discussions.
In a free event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 6, the MFA will open its front porch to the community, providing yard signs and supplies for participants to channel their inner artist, expressing what freedom means to them. Side-by-side, participants will reflect their own personal views on freedom, and the completed signs will be displayed on the MFA lawn for all to see and contemplate.
For Freedoms, founded in 2016 by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, produces exhibitions, town hall meetings, billboards and public art to address questions about the link between culture and civic life. The national initiative also aims to connect the nation’s cultural and artistic infrastructure by building a network of artists, art institutions and civic leaders.
In the Tampa Bay area, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Tampa Museum of Art, and the University of South Florida Contemporary Museum of Art in Tampa are also participating in the initiative:
The Ringling Museum has installed “Vote and Continue to Dream,” a billboard by contemporary artist Carrie Mae Weems at the corner of U.S. 301 and State Road 70 between Sarasota and Bradenton.
The Tampa Museum of Art is hosting a teen art exhibition with up to 40 works selected by the museum’s Youth Council that will run from October 26 to November 26.
The USF Contemporary Museum of Art is hosting lawn sign activations at the Bull Market on the USF Tampa campus, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on October 17 and October 24.
In addition to 200 national institutional partners and 300 individual artists involved in the national initiative, the project’s Kickstarter campaign recently raised over $172,000 to fund 52 billboards across the 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., to facilitate dialogues incorporating art, education, advertising and politics.
“The MFA is a safe space dedicated to the thoughtful exchange of ideas,” said MFA executive director Kristen A. Shepherd. “Museums provide a place for us to have conversations that help us better understand each other, even when we are different or when we disagree. With this in mind, we encourage all members of the community to participate in this event.”
The League of Women Voters will also be on hand at the MFA on October 6 to provide voter registration services for eligible Florida residents with a valid driver license or identification card.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, at 255 Beach Drive NE, has a world-class collection, with works by Monet, Morisot, Rodin, O’Keeffe, Willem de Kooning, and many other great artists. Also displayed are ancient Greek and Roman, Egyptian, Asian, African, pre-Columbian, and Native American art. Selections from the photography collection, one of the largest and finest in the Southeast, are on view in a gallery dedicated solely to the medium. Kristen A. Shepherd is the Executive Director.
Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, until 8 p.m. on Thursday, and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is only $5 after 5 p.m. on Thursday. Regular admission is $20 for adults, $15 for those 65 and older, Florida educators, college students, and military, $10 for students seven and older. Children under seven and Museum members are admitted free. Groups of 10 or more adults pay only $12 per person and children $4 each with prior reservations. The MFA Café is open from 11 a.m. – 3p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. For more information, please call 727.896.2667 or visit mfastpete.org.