The Tampa Bay area has many art museums that people can go to and see many types of art. What some people may not know, is there are some other, more unconventional ways to look at art in the area, some of which are free! Next time you want to check out some art and do not want to spend the day inside a museum or spend a lot of money, visit some local stores or locations instead!
Dysfunctional Grace is an oddities shop located in Ybor. Its website describes the store as “The only shop in Ybor City where death and dysfunction dance in a graceful ballet.” It is a store, so patrons can purchase the pieces they see there. Dysfunctional Grace has many unique things to look at or buy, including Kabuki masks, Vietnam Era aircraft carrier deck crew headgear, pyrography tables, paintings, and taxidermy animals. It’s not all art in the traditional sense of paintings and sculptures, but things not traditionally known to be art. If you’re looking for a fascinating place to see art and more, check it out!
Over the last few years, the City of Tampa has commissioned murals around the city in Ybor, Downtown, East Tampa and West Tampa. Many of these pieces were created in 2011 or after. Many of these paintings show the history of different parts of the city in a bright, colorful, and intriguing way. They are all free to visit! The only thing you need to pay is gas money. Instead of taking a random drive, cruise around and check out the city’s murals.
Built in an old bait house, Hong Kong Willie’s is a preservation art business started by Joe Brown, a reuse artist. He takes objects that would usually be considered trash or items people do not want and turns them into art. The outside of the building displays some of the art and is decorated with art and unusual items, like shoes, to get visitors to think, and an old helicopter that has been turned into a sculpture. The inside is full of paintings done on pieces of wood that were found and reused to create something beautiful. You may find a special piece of art to take home and will hopefully leave with a sense of how anything can be beautiful.
Ulele is a local Tampa restaurant located on the Riverwalk just north of Downtown Tampa. It’s known for its fresh native-inspired food and beer. However, Ulele also has a lot of art from Tampa and around the world. There are stained glass panels from France, a horse sculpture from Peru and more! Even the tabletops are art, as Ulele commissioned them from a place in Seminole Heights. Outside the restaurant, is a collection of statues from Fairyland, a former theme park in Tampa. Here people will receive food that is a work of art while getting a chance to appreciate works of art!