You don’t have to plunk down big bucks to visit a museum to take in the arts. All you need is some reliable transportation, free time and good organizational and navigational skills. Here’s a list of the top public art exhibits you can take in totally for free around the city of Tampa.
The Story of Tampa
This multi-layered work, commissioned by the City of Tampa’s Public Art Program in 2003, was created by Lynn Ash. Ash, operating under the theme of representing the city’s uniqueness, managed to weave together about 200 vignettes, portraits, and images representing Tampa throughout history. You can gawk at the painting in the lobby of the Tampa municipal building. The state’s official website offers an interactive view of the painting, allowing visitors to click on the various pieces of the painting and learn about them in greater detail.
Kaleidoscope: Heritage of Color
This colorful and ethnically-rich mural, found near the racquetball courts at Macfarlane Park, was unveiled in 2007 and created by Edgar Sanchez Cumbas and Guillermo Portieles. The pair explained that the work is meant to celebrate the hardworking men and women who embraced a prosperous social and cultural community through its various nationalities and religions. Depicted in the mural are: Robert W. “Bob” Saunders, a civil rights activist; Luisa Capetillo, a women’s rights activist; Jose Marti, a Cuban revolutionary; Hugh Macfarlane, a Scottish immigrant and attorney; and Fernando Figueredo, the first mayor of West Tampa.
Artist Charles Humes, Jr. said he wanted his mural made of mosaic, tiles, ceramics and marble glass to depict community, family, education, fitness and sports, faith and law. The “work portrays the African term “harambee” in which everyone and every moment is celebrated and significant in life,” according to Humes, Jr. The mural can be seen in the public gathering space on the site of the police department where 22nd Street and 31st Avenue intersect. The mural consists of seven panels and features geometric and symmetric designs of African origin.
Great Ball of Pliers
This impressive structure by John Rogers is composed of powder-coated galvanized steel, aluminum, pliers, glass, and cables. Rogers, who completed the project over a period of two years, said his goal was for the sculpture to be fun and mysterious yet also profound. The sculpture is a visual treat from various angles and viewers are able to gawk at the work up close as the consists of various safety features.