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ST. PETERSBURG IS TOPS IN ARTS FOR 2ND YEAR IN A ROW

A year ago, AmericanStyle magazine placed the Sunshine City at the top of its list of 25 Arts Destinations for midsize cities.

Earlier this year, city officials urged residents to defend the title by voting online. And for the second year in a row, St. Petersburg is tops.

"We're certainly proud of the arts scene and the city of St. Petersburg, and we're extremely proud of the trend of being an arts destination in these strenuous economic times," said Mayor Bill Foster.

"When it comes to arts and culture, we really do shine."

In the issue due out June 8, AmericanStyle cites the opening of the new Salvador Dali Museum as one of the high points for the arts community here.

Back in early April, the magazine posted this item on its Facebook page: "We are putting together the list for the Top 25 Arts Destinations based on your votes. Who do YOU think should be number 1?"

A month later Sierra Dante of St. Pete Beach wrote: "St. Petersburg, FL supports the arts and its artists like me!"

Dante, who has a virtual gallery online at sierradante.com, said her artwork is mainly contemporary realism. She is a member of Suntan Arts and helps other artists with shows and receptions.

"That's exciting for our city," she said Tuesday. "There's a plethora of arts, music and theater here - even Tropicana Field invites artists to come there. So it's a great little city," said the Minnesota native, who moved here four years ago with her husband, Conrad.

Topping the list in the large city category are New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. In the midsize city category are St. Petersburg, Savannah, Ga., New Orleans and Charleston, S.C. The small city category includes Asheville, N.C., Santa Fe and Gloucester, Mass.

Sandra J. Gadsden is assistant metro editor, community news. Reach her at at sgadsden@sptimes.com or at (727) 893-8874.

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