St. Petersburg is the established center of arts and culture in the Tampa Bay area, boasting over 30 museums, galleries, performing arts centers, and theaters in the downtown and Grand Central district. Joining that group is a new museum to showcase American studio glass. The new Imagine Museum on St. Pete’s Central Avenue will open Tuesday, January 23rd, featuring beautiful and mesmerizing glass art from an extensive collection by over 55 prominent artists.   

The museum is the inspiration of Trish Duggan, a local glass artist. Duggan partnered with executive director Nate Jessup, and Joanna Sikes serves as a senior consultant. For over 20 years, Sikes was the director of international and domestic projects for Dale Chihuly, whose works are on display at the Imagine Museum and the Chihuly Collection located just up the street.

The Imagine Museum American studio glass collection includes 550 works documenting and demonstrating the history of the medium. It will be housed in a 10,000 square foot exhibition space along with galleries for visiting collections from all over the world. In addition to the museum, the building will also house an education center, event and meeting space, kitchen facilities, a Kahwa Cafe, and a museum gift store. 

“Imagine Museum is proud to be part of a community that is at the heart of the studio glass movement on Florida's West Coast. We are happy to contribute a magnificent collection made possible by a founding benefactor passionate about the future of studio glass and the uplifting influence of visionary artists in this medium.” - Nate Jessup, Imagine Museum executive director

One of the many works of art on display at the Imagine Museum.  Photo courtesy of the Imagine Museum.

St. Petersburg’s Imagine Museum will open on Glass Weekend, an annual event that brings together studio glass artists and enthusiasts from Sarasota and St. Petersburg. There will be several days of artist events, featuring legends in the field from all over the world, plus VIP parties and tours. The Imagine Museum and its showcase of American studio glass has already created a buzz in the industry. The Glass Arts Society has announced their annual conference will be held in St. Petersburg in 2019, marking the first time the city will host this event.

The Museum Shop is already open to the public. It’s the perfect place to buy unique glass art gifts from the artists featured in the collection, plus pieces from well-known studio glass artists across the country. In the Imagine Museum gift shop, you’ll find handcrafted jewelry, dinnerware, lighting, ornaments, keepsakes and business accessories. Prices start around $30.00 and some pieces are hand-signed by the artist. Don’t miss this store if you are looking for one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts for the holidays or any occasion.

The Museum Shop at the Imagine Museum.  Photo Courtesy of Imagine Museum.

Whether you are a Studio Glass artist, a collector or just someone who loves beautiful art, the Imagine Museum will be a must see when it opens January 23rd in St. Petersburg. The artwork is stunning — twice during my sneak preview, I had to turn back to one of the items on display to get a closer look at the illusion the artwork created. It was far more than I ever expected. The museum is destined to become a jewel in the crown of St. Petersburg’s cultural experience.

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A new museum of American studio glass is the perfect complement to the Museum of Fine Arts, The Dali Museum, and the Morean Arts Center. For ideas on other museums to visit, plus restaurants, bars, and events coming to Pinellas County, check out and register for updates sent directly to your mobile device. It’s free!