Need a break from the heat? Go downtown!
That’s right! As mentioned in a previous article, Tampa’s Downtown District has made incredible end roads in recent years, notably in the area of “the arts.”
Yes, it wasn’t that long ago that after 5 o’clock, Downtown would become a sleepy, vacant shell of buildings complemented by some sparsely-populated bars and restaurants with the occasional social event thrown in to the mix.
In recent years however, downtown has become a cultural focal point for Tampa residents and visitors alike.

One key player in this development of downtown’s arts scene has been the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (FMoPA), a remarkable venue space, acclaimed for its unique exhibitions, educational classes, and community focus.
Since 2001, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts has been attracting many from all over the Tampa Bay Area and beyond.
What makes this museum so great? Great question! Here’s three solid reasons to get out of the heat and take refuge in a spectacular place unlike any other:
1. The Exhibitions. 

The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts collects, preserves,  and exhibits historic and contemporary works by nationally and internationally known photographic artists, mostly from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Past exhibitions have focused on Andy Warhol, the Civil War, and a variety of other engaging topics.
Two of their current exhibitions include Henthorne (July 3-August 31, 2015; second floor) and Joseph Gamble (July 3-August 31, 2015; third floor).
The Henthorne exhibit features black and white photos which “examine intersections of earth and ocean, serving as both environmental documents and dreamy homages to nature verging on the surreal” while the Joseph Gamble exhibit “consists of his complete ‘Moments in Place’ series, as well as the debut of 12 large format photographs from ‘Forgotten Space,’ his ongoing inquiry into the early days of the U.S. Space Program.
Future exhibits will include “Marvels of the Reef”, an underwater photography exhibit (September 4-December 28, 2015) and “Hotel Room Portraits: Richard Renaldi & Seth Boyd” (October 2-December 28, 2015).
Click on these links for more information on current or upcoming exhibits.

2. A sense of community. 

The FMoPA is a community-based museum.
Even in its beginning years, the museum focused on working with underserved children at the USF/Patel Partnership Elementary School located at the University of South Florida.
This would be the first of many ongoing community programs at the museum, most of which exist still today.
Programs at the museum include: the free Children’s Literacy Through Photography Program for at-risk children, adult photography classes (for a small fee), children’s summer camps, and numerous workshops for “artists” of all ages and skill levels.
Children/youth classes meet on Saturday mornings and are a perfect enrichment for young aspiring artists.
Adult classes stem from entry level photography to advanced classes where students learn how to work with different types of software.
Altogether, the programs are community focused, engaging, and fun!

3. The venue.

FMoPA is situated on the 2nd and 3rd floor of what is colloquially known as “the Cube,” a soaring, six-story building with an atrium that is regarded as one of the more impressive interior spaces in the Tampa Bay Area.
This impressive space, once home to a bank, now welcomes thousands of guests each year into a world of captivating photographic exhibitions, community programs, classes, and creativity unlike anywhere else in Tampa.
Check out the museum, which is open everyday (M-R 11a-6p; F 11a-7p; Saturday and Sunday noon-5p), for yourself! Come and see all that the FMoPA has to offer!

For more information, visit the FMoPA page on!