Tampa Is Artsy, But Not Pretentious

I can honestly say I've NEVER known too much about art and I'm ashamed about that. The elegant, classy people I admire in the world seem to know everything about famous artists and their bodies of work. Meanwhile, I'm over here barely able to tell you who painted 'A Starry Night' and the 'Mona Lisa' without googling it.

It's one of my deepest, darkest secrets to be honest. I try to present myself as a cultured, worldly, educated woman who's a mile wide even if only an inch deep. But, when it comes to the art scene, I'm totally, completely and embarrassingly ignorant. A 3rd grader more than likely knows more about art than I do.

So when my sister asked me to visit the Tampa Museum of Art with her when she was visiting me, I felt (like usual) the need to pretend like I knew about the artist and the exhibit she wanted to see. Yayoi Kusama...

ME: "Oh sure...yeah he's great."

MY SISTER: "It's a she Laura"...

ME: "Oh right yeah of course"

ME: (Feverishly googles who the heck that is!)

I saw her picture and I was immediately drawn in... I NEEDED to know more about this woman and her story. Her colors were so vibrant but her face showed a hardened soul.

And just like that, I realized the value in art. You think about an artist and what he or she was thinking and why they chose the colors or patterns or designs they chose.

I learned Yayoi Kusama had mental health issues and was a feminist who fought for women's issues in Japan...I learned about her pain and struggles trying to pursue her dream as an artist in a traditional Japanese family who expected her to get married and settle. I learned she tried to commit suicide by jumping out of a window...but survived. Could you IMAGINE!?!?

Her exhibit was nothing short of amazing:

It felt like you were in her head and felt her confusion and chaos. She was obsessed with dots and thought we were all dots! I learned there's even a documentary about her!

All of that I got from deciding to walk into what I thought was a lion's den...an art museum!

I realize now that there may be plenty of people out there who know more about art history than I do, but the art scene isn't about any of that...it's about appreciating beautiful or 'crazy' creations and interpreting them how you see them.

My 3 and 5 year old kids were in tow and they were just as fascinated as I was... Norah kept saying "Mommy, did someone make this?" because things just seemed like there was no way they were man-made. The creativity was flowing and my kids and I were soaking it all up.

Now, for the first time ever, I can't WAIT TO GO TO THE DALI MUSEUM in St. Petersburg!!!!! I'm not intimidated or embarrassed. I look forward to learning every thing I can about the amazing pieces. I plan on getting a babysitter and making a day out of it!

The Tampa Museum of Art marked a major shift...when I was there, the employees couldn't have been more welcoming. Not a single person was pretentious or judgmental. I didn't have to pretend. I've felt that same welcoming attitude in downtown St. Pete and I can't wait to check out not only the Dali museum but the local art scene!

Tampa Bay truly has it down when it comes to being artsy without being pretentious. And considering some of the pretentious but mediocre art scenes I've come across, it's funny that Tampa/St. Pete is so humble!

Any ideas or places I have to see around here? Even something as simple as street art or wall murals done by local artists...please let me know!

Shoot me a DM or email... lauradiaz@iheartmedia.com or on IG, FB and Twitter at @ladylauradiaz

Mix Mornings with Laura Diaz

Mix Mornings with Laura Diaz

Mix Mornings with Laura Diaz wakes up Tampa Bay weekday mornings on Mix 100.7! Read more


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