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Dali Museum’s Request For Expansion Funds Approved

The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg holds over 2,100 pieces of the  Spanish-born surrealist artwork
The Salvador Dali Museum
The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg holds over 2,100 pieces of the Spanish-born surrealist artwork.

The Salvador Dali Museum’s request for $17.5 million towards a new expansion was approved by Pinellas County Commissioners on Tuesday.

In January, the Dali Museum filed an application for a 2-year project totaling around $38 million.

The county funds will come from a bed tax on Pinellas hotels. Commissioners said Tuesday that they might revisit the use of bed taxes if the Tampa Bay Rays make a decision on a new baseball stadium. 

The St. Petersburg-based Dali Museum holds over 2,100 pieces of Spanish-born surrealist’s work.

It attracts between 360,000 and 450,000 annual visitors from over 30 countries. According to the museum’s funding application, less than 25% of the guests are from the local area.

As it currently stands, museum officials say they cannot accommodate more visitors. The proposal includes providing more space for guests and upgrading the technology.

One of the plans is a 10,000-square-foot, hands-on experience called Digital Dali that will feature virtual reality. Visitors will be able to ‘step inside’ select paintings and explore the landscape. The museum sees this as an innovative way to connect with Dali, while also attracting the digital generation. 

A virtual exhibit will be open this summer. Visual Magic: Dali’s Masterworks in Augmented Realityconverts Dali’s paintings to 3D creations.

The plan also includes another 10,000 square feet for education spaces and large community events. Another 150,000-square-foot garage will increase the parking from 130 to 430 spaces. The parking lot will be available 24/7, serving not only the museum, but the surrounding downtown St. Petersburg community as well.

The project will move to the Tourist Development Council for the next stage of review.

Rachel Smith is a WUSF/USF Zimmerman School digital news intern for spring 2019.