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Does the Tampa Bay Area Lack Culture?

As museums throughout the region, including at least one in Largo, open their doors for free on Saturday, we want to know what you think about the area’s cultural scene.

Tampa Bay area residents have heard it all. The region is “devoid” of culture. It lacks refinement. There’s just not an appreciation for the arts here.

Despite a major performing arts center, an orchestra, the treasure trove that is Sarasota and dozens of museums and galleries, some agree with the critics.

Even so, many Tampa Bay area museums are stepping up to the plate to take part in Saturday’s Museum Live Day, sponsored annually by Smithsonian Magazine. On Sept. 29, museums throughout the country will offer free admission to expose their cultural offerings to a larger population.

In the Tampa Bay area, some of the museums providing free entry with downloaded tickets on Saturday include the Armed Forces History Museum, the Tampa Bay History Center, the Florida Holocaust Museum, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. A complete list of venues is available on Smithsonian.com. Tickets for entry must be printed out from the website.

So Tampa Bay, what do you think? Is our region doing just fine on the cultural front, or could it use some help? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Grider September 29, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Tampabay caters to the rich, any art expession is so expensive that normal working person with one child alone, it becomes unaffordable. It is also not open to other cultures, there is a one track mind here, and people from other countries do not feel welcomed. If you read other blogs- the answer always the same, "if you do not like it here- go elsewhere." NOT inviting. The arts are worldwide, and in other places all can be a part of it!
Leroy A Haggard September 29, 2012 at 02:02 PM
This is one area schools have failed children. Somehow art expression in all forms, weather it be music, literature, paintings, funding to have this type of education is lacking. One of the first programs to go is music. Music, art , or whatever you want to call it, is just as important to a child as any other subject. Yes, I agree with the comment art caters to the rich and educated. So, the poor or middle class are left out;. So the cultural front to all is lost. Now for the Bay area is not like a New York or Chicago, or San Francisco, where public transportation takes you almost to the front door. Here in the Bay Area like Largo, I have missed many cultural events as I can no longer drive. I will not depend on the PSTA system as it is now.
RetiredBoomer September 30, 2012 at 01:25 AM
I don't believe that culture is strictly based on the arts. Something is missing in our area but I believe that it is more associated with the almost too casual nature that is accepted and constantly defended. As an example, I see people that I feel are under or inappropriately dressed at any number of events as well as constantly seeing public behavior that is anything but classy. I don't know how you change that but it is hard to ignore when compared with the more sophisticated feel I get when traveling in so many other cities in the country.
Jimmy p September 30, 2012 at 02:32 AM
We do need more art gallerys, museums and a variety of programs where children are taught to appreciate the arts. This town caters too much to the tourists that hit and run this town. There already is a lot of great places if you look hard, but arts festivals and celebrations of the talented retired people here could help.
Jimmy p September 30, 2012 at 02:33 AM
I agree, helping someone like you get to these events is very important.
Francisco Chavez September 30, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Lack of transportation other than cars is a Lack of Culture. My elderly parents visiting from New York City feel locked in after a few weeks in the Tampa Bay area. They do not drive anymore but they would still like to go out "on their own" to Cultural events in Hillsborough and Pinellas if there was an affordable, reliable, hourly, bus service from our home in Wesley Chapel. Spending millions of dollars widening I75 - I275 is fine but what about the many who are not poor but can't drive or would prefer to take the bus to go to a Cultural event? Those that promote the Arts should consider making a pitch for public transportation to get us there. We could spend money on Cultural events, shopping, fine dining and not have to worry about getting behind the wheel of a car to get there and back.
Rider September 30, 2012 at 05:51 PM
What Tampa Bay lacks in the arts and culture is more than compensated with the natural beauty of the area. There is a nice blend of both here and it's so silly to keep focusing on the arts, or lack thereof, when we have world famous beaches, places like Fort DeSoto, a good museum scene, and plenty of concerts. The one aspect, though, that is lacking here, is an emphasis on the melting pot of nationalities here. It's still pretty white bread in many respects....even if that bread has been modified to whole wheat!!! LOL
Raul Noubleau September 30, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Transportation ,transportation, transportation. The TPT sounds good and simple in this area, that has the space the natural surroundings to build a simple light train rail. That Tampa city and his surrounding neighbors could be connected from buses to clear pathways for bikes to pedestrian walkway's.. that people leaving in this small city be. Proud of.........
Leroy A Haggard October 01, 2012 at 10:12 AM
Right on! Museums, concerts, exhibits, or just plain shopping would benefit from a public transportation with teeth in it. From Largo, Fla to St Petes, a 17 mile journey, takes an hour and a half to travel. That's progress?
Leroy A Haggard October 01, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Finally someone understands. Not only do cultural events suffer from lack of quality transportation, but communities as well. Shops, restaurants. all could do much better and yes, might even create a job or two., Without sound transportation, communities will just exist or just die. Drivers should keep one thing in mind, a day will come and they will no longer be able to drive. Then what? if nothing else exitsts
cherylwithac October 01, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Yes, especially downtown St. Petersburg relies on the hit-and-run tourists and the wealthy along Beach Drive (some of them live there only one month out of the year), and doesn't anybody who lives here own real shoes? Flip-flops are not real shoes, and they are not appropriate for a nice restaurant or the theater.
Lynda October 01, 2012 at 08:37 PM
The overwhelming lines on Saturday do show many people are interested in current museums but cost is a factor in attendance. And the comments on the need for good transportation that isn't automobile-focused should be a real wake up call to the planners! What special interests are the obstacles to light rail when so many would benefit?
Gary Huckleberry October 03, 2012 at 06:14 PM
A healthy "culture" is impossible where necessities (home, utilities, transport) are taxed. This and any other extortion guarantees that the most abusive people and practices will overtake the kind ones. The excellent artists will be ignored. So - extortion - railway, stadiums, museums, .. everything will necessarily have an overall negative effect.
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