The exhibit of Chinese art that opens today in St. Petersburg and Tampa is a first for the region and the cultural world. Visitors will have an opportunity to experience the works of young artists who will be on the radar for decades. And Tampa Bay will celebrate another example of regional cooperation and ambition.
As the Tampa Bay Times' art critic Lennie Bennett chronicled this week, it was not easy pulling together "My Generation: Young Chinese Artists," which runs through Sept. 28. Aside from the glitches that can sidetrack any exhibition, the effort involved acquiring works from different lenders, working within tight time frames and cutting through red tape with Chinese authorities. The vision and determination local arts leaders demonstrated in bringing to America this first survey of Chinese artists born at the start of the post-Mao era reflects a confidence and cooperation that will raise this community's cultural profile.
And the bay area bridges, which for so long have divided the region, made it happen. When the Tampa Museum of Art realized it lacked available space for the show, it approached St. Petersburg's Museum of Fine Arts. The show will be spread through both facilities, which both made it possible and more convenient for a larger audience to reach.
Local leaders have already applied this sense of common purpose to advance transit, jobs, the environment and tourism across the region. Adding the arts is one of the next logical steps in maximizing the assets of the entire Tampa Bay area.