The Museum of Fine Arts is celebrating the holidays with a number of special events, including breakfast with Santa.
ST. PETERSBURG - The Museum of Fine Arts encourages everyone to escape the holiday stress and take time to enjoy the world-class collection, special exhibitions, and a wealth of programs. The Museum Store is the perfect place to find unique, creative gifts for children and adults. You do not have to pay MFA admission to visit the store or lunch in the café.
For the first time in its history, lights will decorate the trees in the front of the building on Beach Drive N.E., and the grand, Victorian-style Christmas tree will warm The Great Hall in December. This spectacular tree is a Stuart Society and Museum tradition. Santa and Mrs. Claus will fly in from the North Pole for Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 8. The programs follow:
- Saturday, Dec. 1, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.: miniARTure Golf Course opens on the MFA’s front lawn. Six holes have been created by area artists and architects. Putters and balls are available at the Welcome Desk. There is a suggested donation of $3 per person, which will support educational programs. The course will remain open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday through the run of The Art of Golf.
- Sunday, Dec. 2, 3 p.m.: Hazel and William Hough Chief Curator Jennifer Hardin conducts a Gallery Talk on Contemporary Prints by American Women: A Selection from the Gift of Martha and Jim Sweeny. Dr. Hardin collaborated with the Sweenys on the development of this compelling collection.
- Monday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m.: The holidays come alive in this concert of traditional music by the Opera Tampa Chorus under the direction of Gregory Ruffer. This performance in the Museum’s elegant Marly Room is part of the inaugural season of the Florida Opera Festival. Tickets are $10. Seating is limited, first come, first served.
- Thursday, Dec. 6, 6:30 p.m.: The Collectors Circle Lecture Series presents Alexandra Kim, former Curator of Collections at Kensington Palace in London. This event, sponsored by Northern Trust, is open to the public. Her lecture is free with MFA admission, which is only $10 on Thursday evenings.
Kensington Palace was the home of Princess Diana. Her son Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, will occupy a wing in this palace beginning in 2013.
Mrs. Kim was one of the key curators who prepared for the grand reopening of Kensington to the public this year and played a large role in The Enchanted Palace exhibition in 2010. For that popular show, some of Britain’s most innovative fashion designers created installations for the state apartments at Kensington. Mrs. Kim also curated Jubilee—a view from the crowd, which fell during Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Summer Olympics. That exhibition honored Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
- Saturday, Dec. 8, 9-11 a.m.: Breakfast with Santa features a delicious buffet and visits from the Jolly Old Elf himself and Mrs. Claus. Cost is $10 for children and $15 for adults and includes MFA admission. Reservations are required by Wednesday, December 5. Please call the MFA Café: 727.896.2667, ext. 259, or 727.822.1032.
- Monday, Dec. 10, 1 p.m.: Museum Director Kent Lydecker, an engaging educator, introduces Michael Goldberg’s painting, The New Dump (1964), in this 30-minute Monday Art Bite. Come before or stay after and see more treasures throughout the Museum.
- Tuesday, Dec. 11: New Parent Gallery Conversations begin at 10 a.m. and are for parents with infants up to one-year-old. This docent-led tour is for adults, and babies are welcome. Light refreshments will follow in the Membership Garden. This is a wonderful way to meet fellow parents.
The Friends of Decorative Arts program is at 2 p.m. Collector Jim Sweeny will introduce the decorative arts of gifted American architect Michael Graves. His talk will encompass Graves’ high-style creations for Alessi and his popular objects for Target. Non-FODA members can attend for $5, plus MFA admission.
- Wednesday, Dec. 12, 10 a.m. to noon: Nan Colton, the Museum’s performing artist-in-residence, presents her popular “Seasonal Tales.” Tour and refreshments are part of this Coffee Talk for people 55+.
- Saturday, Dec. 15, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.: Create art inspired by the collection and special exhibitions in this MFA: Make and Take Saturday. Use edible materials to construct a golf course you can savor afterwards. Free with Museum admission. No registration necessary.
The Museum at 255 Beach Drive N.E. is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. On Thursdays, the MFA is open until 8 p.m., with admission reduced to $10 from 5-8 p.m. Regular admission is $17 for adults, $15 for those 65 and older, and $10 for students seven and older, including college students with current I.D. Children under seven and Museum members are admitted free.