St. Petersburg Museum of History announces Ya La’ford as artist behind final expansion piece

Artist Ya La’ford will be the official artist behind the St. Petersburg Museum of History’s final expansion piece.

ST. PETERSBURG — The St. Petersburg Museum of History announced Ya La’ford, St. Pete and Bay area muralist, installation artist, painter, and professor, will be the official artist behind the Museum’s final expansion piece.

Titled Intersections, the piece will wrap the second level and rooftop terrace exterior of the upcoming expansion.

This will be the largest art installation piece that La’ford has done to date. She is best known for her art installation pieces featuring bold, geometric shapes and patterns that make use of positive and negative space.

“My work as an artist is in alignment with the values of the St. Petersburg Museum of History—to preserve, record, and communicate our rich and storied past while also charting and creating the future,” La’ford said.

Most recently, La’ford was a featured artist of Super Bowl LV in Tampa, St. Petersburg Grand Prix, and the Indianapolis 500. Her work from the St. Pete Grand Prix will be on display at the Museum of History.

Intersections is La’ford’s creative, interactive interpretation of an 1891 Florida railway map illustrating the routes and intersections that deliver Americans back to where our nation’s history started – Florida.

“My work as an artist is in alignment with the values of the St. Petersburg Museum of History—to preserve, record, and communicate our rich and storied past while also charting and creating the future,” La’ford said.

“With the power of a line, the intricate design of the building’s exterior is a bridge between past and future. ‘Intersection’ is a physical record and interpretation of the intersecting lines formed throughout Florida’s transportation network. Just like each of us, these roads will change and evolve. Yet every time we travel, we have the opportunity to learn, grow, and connect through our visits with each other and through incredible places of learning like the St. Pete History Museum.”

The St. Petersburg Museum of History is expected to break ground on the expansion on Feb. 11, 2022 — its 100th birthday.

The 10,000-square-foot expansion will include a ground-level Visit St. Pete/Clearwater Welcome Center and St. Pete-themed gift shop; Explore Florida!, the Museum’s new exhibit, which will bring St. Petersburg, as well as Florida history to life fills the second level; and the Flight Deck—a rooftop terrace for special events.

The Museum’s expansion was designed by ARC3 Architecture and will be built by Hennessy Construction.

“Ya La’ford’s fusion of our history with her spectacular abstract art was the final touch to this historic expansion that we searched for,” said Rui Farias, executive director of the Museum. “This piece shares our historical narratives and rich heritage through dynamic and breathtaking public art.”

The brainchild of Mary Wheeler Eaton and the city’s Historical Society, the Museum started making its own history in 1922, when it opened in a small, former aquarium building on the Municipal Pier approach.

The Museum quickly started collecting historical artifacts that now number in the tens of thousands, including a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy and a two-headed calf. The original building was replaced in 1950, and in 1992 expanded to house the world’s only working replica of the Benoist airboat—the world’s first airliner. In 2003, the Museum of History added a conservation laboratory, a public resource room, and a collections & archives vault that preserves the city’s past.

Now, as demand for more exhibits and access grows, the Museum must grow with it.

For more information, visit HistoryStPete.org

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