My daughter was born an artist. From the first time she could hold a crayon, she loved to create. She was able to imagine wonderful worlds filled with color and wonder and escaped to the lands with the stroke of her brush. As she is starting to work her way through school, she is able to get exposed to some of the finer artists through her art classes. She has loved learning about the different styles in art, and the different artists that have created the works she now knows by name.
This summer, as we search for fun and enriching activities, one destination stayed in the back of my mind for a while now. Looking for a way to keep her passion for art, and creative juices flowing, we decided to take a trip to the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. Salvador Dali has always been one of my favorite artists, and I was eager to share his unique works with my family. The museum is home to the largest collection of Dali’s work, outside of Europe, and is home to 7 of the 18 masterwork paintings by Dalí, the most of any museum in the entire world. The Collection includes 96 oil paintings, many original drawings, book works, prints, sculpture, photos, manuscripts, and an extensive archive of documents.
As we first arrived, our first impression left us saying “this is a pretty impressive place!” Both the exterior and the interior of the building are breathtaking works of art in themselves. This 3 floored building that houses the museum is a work of art dedicated to Dali and you can delight in seeing your first work of art before even entering the front doors. As we entered the building we were met by a helpful, friendly and informative staff. We worked our way through their extensive gift shop, and onto the museum.
First things first, however. We had to get some lunch! Inside the first floor there is also the delicious and artistic Cafe Gala. Named after Salvador Dali’s wife, this casual eatery hosted many culinary gems, all the while giving a nod to Dali with it’s Spanish theme. They had something for everyone, healthy and filling meals for the adults and a small but well thought out menu for children as well, all affordably priced. With our bellies full we were eager to begin our tour of the museum. Children were given “scavenger hunt” papers, which made traveling through the museum much more than just a history and art lesson, but truly an adventure. Little visitors that completed their scavenger hunt paper were given a choice of prize upon exiting the museum, and those prizes were thoughtful and actually quite cool.
The Museum is hosting a Marvels of Illusion exhibit right now, which was a lot of fun for all of us. Touching on a lot of the elements that make Salvador Dali so unique, the exhibit showcases optical illusions and interactive exhibits that really stretch the boundaries of art. Without divulging too much, let’s just say before you leave this exhibit, you become a part of the museum yourself.
What can be said about viewing Salvador Dali’s work? It felt like no words could do any justice to the artwork I had seen. I have written, re-written and erased words a half a dozen times trying to explain the wonder, excitement and awe of seeing the works of a master up close. His surrealist works are, if anything, completely hallucinogenic, though he has been quoted as saying “I don’t do drugs, I am drugs,” and that seems to be the only way for me to describe his works at all. Salvador Dali’s works are drugs, put to canvas, painted by the hand of an absolute genius and you can only be in awe standing before the painting in this collection.
Each member of my family derived there own meaning from his paintings, with us chatting back and forth about what we liked best about each of them. I could see my daughters eyes light up at some of the paintings and others she passed right by. That’s the fun thing about art, and it was great to be able to share it with my family. The Salvador Dali Museum made for the perfect addition to a summer day, and I was glad to be able to experience it with my family. I know family trips to the museum might be a little cliche, but not when it comes to Salvador Dali, it’s anything but normal!
Enjoy it for yourself: