The collection mainly consists of works on paper or canvas that show these characteristics or themes:
- Artistic Development and Innovation
Some artists attempt to add to the vocabulary of art, using groundbreaking, innovative processes. Some examples are works by Vasarely, Albers, Anuszkiewicz, and Uelsmann.
- Literary Qualities and Allusions
Many works have a sense of narrative or are metaphorical. Art which narrows the distance between visual and literary explorations seems particularly appropriate for a library. Testa-Secca, Pachner, Covington, and Kollwitz may be viewed from this perspective.
- Florida References
Florida, the natural environment, and interpretations of the landscape are appropriate elements when found in works of artistic merit. Works by Kashdin, Bierce, and new pieces by Jean Blackburn and Clyde Butcher explore this theme. Butcher has become famous for his large-format photos of Florida's natural landscapes.
History of the Collection
A permanent art collection was acquired for the Main Library in the late 1960's. In the last few years, a resurgence of interest has led to new projects funded by the Friends of the Library. Cleaning and conservation has resulted in brighter and better preserved artwork.
In 1996, for the first time in decades, the Friends began approving new art purchases at the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts. Several pieces of contemporary art by notable local artists were added to fit in with, and enhance our collection.