Visit Largo's Gulf Coast Museum of Art while you can

When the Gulf Coast Museum of Art opened in the Pinewood Cultural Park in 1999, it was hailed as a venerable institution becoming new again.

It began as the Clearwater Museum in 1936, moved to Belleair about 1949 and along the way became the Florida Gulf Coast Art Center. It earned accreditation from the American Association of Museums when it opened in its current location.

But the location in a relatively remote spot off Walsingham Road in Largo never quite worked.

On Jan. 30, the museum will close, the victim of low attendance and a dwindling endowment. Officials, however, plan to use the time off to explore a new location, a new mission and even a new name as they pursue the goal of opening a new museum by 2012.

In the meantime, however, residents have several months to check out the museum's offerings:

• Victoria Block's "Narrations" is the current exhibit through Sept. 27. The Montreal resident winters in Florida and finds her inspiration in her diverse surroundings.

• More than 30 outdoor sculptures permanently installed on the museum complex grounds and interspersed within the neighboring Florida Botanical Gardens.

• Six permanent collection galleries displaying a diverse representation of art by contemporary Florida artists and makers of fine crafts from across the Southeast.

If you go

Address: 12211 Walsingham Road  Phone: 518-6833

Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; currently closed

Sundays; starting Oct. 5, noon – 4 p.m. Sundays; closed Mondays

Prices: $10 adults; $8 seniors 65 and older; $5 college students with a valid ID and youth 7-18; free for museum members and children 6 and younger

Visit Largo's Gulf Coast Museum of Art while you can 09/06/08 [Last modified: Saturday, September 6, 2008 11:33am]

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