Uplift, inspire, educate at Imagine Museum


ST. PETERSBURG — I don’t use adjectives lightly. I am from Chicago, and I love the arts. I have no skills whatsoever in that department, so I’m always fascinated by creativity and beauty.

Imagine Museum is an amazing experience for the senses. Just the name alone tells you something special is in store. A new kid on the block, Imagine is located in downtown St. Pete and is dedicated to the Contemporary American Studio Glass Movement.

My neighbor invited me to sneak a peek and take a tour. She gave me an education on studio glass and then introduced me to the world of glass art.

LeQuier Cabriole, ae, featuredBorn in the 60s, the Studio Glass Movement came to life with the invention of the first studio glass furnace by Harvey Littleton, a ceramic artist who understood the use of heat as a way to manipulate natural materials as Dale Chihuly does.

Other artists introduced low-melting techniques that would fit into an artist’s studio. Hence studio art glass was born versus factory glass art. Glass art is now recognized as an essential part of contemporary American art.

Opened in Jan., Imagine Museum is situated on two floors. All galleries are wheelchair accessible. The museum store is on first-floor grand hall entrance and features limited editions of glass, gift items, jewelry and books. It has a café, theater and an education and professional development suite.

Jane Buckman, deputy director of Imagine, shared the founder’s vision of an affordable, accessible, inspirational community treasure. The primary benefactor, Trish Duggan, goal was to promote light, spirituality, positivity and love.

“We’re all here to help each other, said Buckman, adding that the museum is family friendly and is purposefully centrally located in the heart of the community. “We make it affordable, and we want to reach the variety of people in our radius.”

For example, last month Imagine held a Friday night cocktail party with access to the collection for only five dollars. Five hundred people showed up instead of the 100 projected. Clearly, they are doing something right.

They fit in with the growing arts community in St. Pete but also stand out in the uniqueness.

From my generation to college students, the museum is perfect for those starving for comfortable social events surrounded by beauty. Not a bar scene, Imagine is ideal for networking, while just enjoying music.

From St. Pete natives to those new to the Burg, people are considering Imagine their new home, or at least a jumping off spot not connected to beaches.

Not saying we don’t love our beaches or marina, we just want more.

Imagine is getting their name out by working in the community. They are interested in teaching and doing demonstrations, and have collaborations going with Academy Prep and the Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum.

They sponsored a movie night at the Royal Theater on the Deuces, and professional groups such as Working Women of Tampa Bay are using the space for seminars on professional development.

Saturday, Nov. 10, the Imagine Museum will host a family-friendly event call Family, Flame, Fun featuring flame glass blowing, arts education projects, tours, workshops, food trucks and games all for $5. The fun begins at 11 a.m. and lasts until 4 p.m.

Upcoming additions to the museum will include a kid’s court, which will be an exclusive area for children to create. Also, storytelling Improv in their theater will be added.

Full disclosure, I am an Imagine Museum member, with reciprocity around the country in 800 museums. Great value. I have a revolving door of family visiting from Minnesota, Chicago and Indiana, and we’ve been doing Orlando for years. Now that I live here in St. Pete, they want to explore what I now have discovered.

For more info on memberships and how to get involved, contact Lisa Ferrer, associate director of development at 727-300-1700 ext. 105. Imagine Museum is located at 1901 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

For more information, log on to www.imaginemuseum.com.

To reach Faye Tippy, email ftippy@theweeklychallenger.com

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