ST. PETERSBURG — Works by more than 300 of the most important artists in history will grace the walls of the Museum of Fine Arts' new wing.
The addition more than doubles the size of the original building, giving the museum the room to showcase works that have been in storage for years. Most have rarely been on view and some are being shown for the first time.
The wing honors Hazel Hough, longtime museum docent, volunteer, supporter and a former trustee who, with her husband trustee William R. Hough, has been instrumental in bringing the project to fruition. Mrs. Hough's commitment to education is reflected in a new interactive gallery. Computers and other technology, artworks, and educational materials will encourage everyone, especially children, to enjoy art more fully.
The original building has city views and the design challenge of the new addition was to open the museum up to the incredible water view, allowing light into the visitor's experience.
The two special exhibitions that will be on view are "Unveiled: Rarely Seen Art from the Collection" and "Mrs. Stuart's Legacy." They'll continue through Aug. 26.
"Unveiled" is the largest exhibition assembled by the museum and features art from antiquity to the present day in all media: paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, prints, drawings, watercolors, photographs, and ancient ceramics.
"Mrs. Stuart's Legacy" spotlights works that Margaret Acheson Stuart, the founder of the Museum of Arts, her family, friends, and supporters donated to launch the museum, which opened to the public in 1965. The museum's collection now numbers more than 4,600 examples of world art.
Saturday's grand opening festivities will include a family day starting with a "March Maskness Workshop" from 10-11 a.m. Participants can create a mask, inspired by a work in the collection ($5 fee) to wear in an art parade. A celebration of creativity, the art parade will begin at noon along Bayshore Drive, ending at North Straub Park and the museum. The family activities, held from noon-4 p.m., will include music, hands-on art activities and refreshments in the park.
Easter morning the museum holds a special brunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tickets are $39 per person, $19 per child under 12, free for 5 and under. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (813) 251-1887.
Sunday at 3 p.m. Nan Colton, performing artist in residence, will perform Georgia O'Keeffe: Blossoms to Bare Bones in the Marly Room.
A performance by the legendary Cleveland Orchestra will conclude the Grand Opening events at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Mahaffey Theater. The performance will feature violinist Midori with Giancarlo Guerrero conducting. The concert is a benefit for the Collectors Circle Acquisitions Fund and the museum. Premier tickets are $125 and include a preconcert cocktail party and coffee and dessert. Regular tickets are $35-$65. Age 55 and over and up to 18 receive $10 off regular ticket prices. For premier tickets, contact Barbara McCoy at [email protected] or call 551-9598. Regular tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster.