ST. PETERSBURG — Undaunted by grim economic news, the board of directors of the Salvador Dali Museum has voted to break ground on a $35-million facility.
Director Hank Hine called the vote "an even greater expression of confidence given that situation." Three-quarters of the funds have been raised.
"Expectations remain high that we'll get this from the community, which has always been responsive in supporting worthy and necessary causes," Hine said.
The museum owns the most comprehensive collection of works by the Spanish surrealist artist in the world and is one of the most important among U.S. museums devoted to a single artist. It has long wanted more exhibit and special events space and a building more hurricane-resistant than its current location at 1000 Third St. S.
The new, 66,450-square-foot building will face the Mahaffey Theater on the downtown waterfront. It doubles gallery space to 16,000 square feet and adds a theater, enlarged store and community areas, classrooms, library and research archives. A surrealistic garden will cover the grounds. It is expected to be finished in late 2010.
The groundbreaking date is being coordinated with the city, but Hine said it will be around Nov. 21.
The architecture, designed by HOK, will incorporate many references to Dali's imagery, but the cornerstone will be one of the most unusual elements. Hine has asked the mayor of Cadaques, Spain, Dali's home, to send a stone to set into the foundation. "Those large, wind-tormented stones were really important to Dali," Hine, said, "both as reminders of his home but also as representations of himself. And now one will hold up the building."
Lennie Bennett can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8293.