While visiting in St. Petersburg Florida this past summer, I popped into a museum downtown called The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art which opened in November of 2017. Being from the Pacific North West I was intrigued to find this museum located in the Sunshine State.
For co-founders of the museum, Tom and Mary James, it all started as a personal passion to purchase western themed art. Over the decades it became their life’s mission to support artists working in the genre and to create a well-rounded collection. Not far from the Dali Museum and the Museum of Fine Art, St. Petersburg, they chose to add to the world class offerings in the city they love.
This brand new building was designed to house the entire collection when the walls of the Raymond James Headquarters became too crowded with their art. People came from around the world to view it there, but nothing tops this new facility to showcase the collection now. I love the architecture too and feel it’s as much a work of art. The stunning stone atrium is designed to resemble a slot canyon. On the second floor there are several angular balconies and a bridge. Each location allows for ever-changing views of magnificent bronze sculptures framed in alcoves. As you make your way around from room to room you gain new perspectives, as if you were on the ridge of a canyon.
There are several rooms, each with it’s own theme. I really enjoyed the contemporary art by Native Americans, the jewelry collection and the modern art. There is also an event space for performances and music as well as a restaurant. Don’t miss it if you’re in town!