2020 is the year of the woman. With the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote this year, museums around the country are hosting women-centric exhibits and events. And while most of the fun is in Washington D.C., several cultural institutions here in Tampa Bay are getting in on the action.
Here at CL, we emailed every museum in Tampa Bay we could think of to find out how they’re celebrating the women’s vote centennial, and we’re thrilled with what we found out. You can look forward to women’s centennial events in pretty much every major city in the Tampa Bay area, and even in some small towns, throughout 2020.
Here are the most exciting women’s vote centennial events we found in each neighborhood, starting with Tampa, where the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Florida began.
The City of Tampa kicks off women’s history month at the Tampa Bay History Center. The theme is “Valliant Women of the Vote,” and Pat Collier Frank is the Keynote speaker. Frank was born in Cleveland, Ohio on November 21, 1929, one month after the stock market crash of 1929. She was the first woman admitted to Georgetown University School of Law in the fall of 1951 and later went on to serve in the Florida House of Representatives (1976-1978) and Florida State Senate (1979-1988). Frank currently serves as Hillsborough County’s Clerk of Court. Tues., Mar. 3, 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. The Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Water St., Tampa. tampagov.net/womens-history-month-celebration
The Tampa Bay History Center’s Teen Council highlights women’s roles in Tampa Bay history. Visit the Tampa Bay History Center to learn about the women who made history in Tampa Bay, from cigar rollers and pirates to Seminole leaders. Sun., Mar. 29. The Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Water St., Tampa. tampabayhistorycenter.org
The Tampa Museum of Art showcases works by female photographers. If you love female photographers as much as I do, then you’re going to love Modern Women: Modern Vision, Works from the Bank of America Collection at the Tampa Museum of Art this February. The exhibit features 100 photographs, all taken by women, from the Bank of America Collection. “It highlights the achievements of women photographers and how they have contributed to our understanding of photography as an art form,” Curator Joanna Robotham told CL. “Moreover, many of the photographers pioneered new directions and new narratives in photography.” Feb. 20 – May 24. Tampa Museum of Art, 120 W. Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. tampamuseum.org
The Sulfur Springs Museum and Heritage Center presents Florida’s female pioneers. Historian and author Dr. Peggy McDonald brings her touring Florida’s female pioneers talk to Tampa’s Sulfur Springs Museum and Heritage Center. Prepare to be schooled about the female writers, physicians, suffragists and conservations who helped shape Florida in this Florida Humanities Council-sponsored lecture. Sun., Mar. 22, 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Sulfur Springs Museum and Heritage Center, 1101 E. River Cove St., Tampa. peggymacdonald.com
The Museum of Fine Arts combines performance and the fight for women’s suffrage in ‘Art of the Stage.’ As Shakespeare wrote in As You Like It, “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” In 1947, Susan B. Anthony’s fight for women’s suffrage played out on stage in Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein’s opera, The Mother of Us All. Starting January 25, you can see costumes and set designs from the famous American opera in the MFA’s Art of the Stage: Picasso to Hockney. If the world is a stage, then would the Women’s Suffrage Movement count as a performance? There were certainly performance aspects to it — demonstrations, parades, speeches. The MFA invites us to reconsider the women’s suffrage movement through the lens of performance art in Art of the Stage and associated events. Be there Sat. Feb. 1, Mar. 7, Apr. 11 or May 9 between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to learn how Robert Indiana created the costumes and sets for The Mother of Us All from his studio assistant, Philomena Marano. Jan. 25-May 10. Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg. mfastpete.org
The Book Club at the MFA discusses equality. The MFA, in partnership with Tombolo books, discusses the fight for women’s rights via their monthly book club. In January, they discuss historian Sally Roesch Wagner’s 2019 anthology, The Women’s Suffrage Movement, a collection of essays, letters, news articles and speeches written by key figures in the Women’s Suffrage Movement. This is followed by American LGBT rights activist Edie Windsor’s 2019 posthumous memoir, A Wild and Precious Life in February, and Argentinian art writer Maria Ganza’s 2019 novel, Optic Nerve in March. Thurs., Jan. 9, Feb. 13, Mar. 12, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts — Bayview Room, 255 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg. mfastpete.org
Cinema at the MFA presents ‘Make More Noise,’ a selection of silent films showing how suffragettes used the media to advance their cause. Thurs., Jan. 30, 7-8:30 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 22, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Sun. Apr. 12, 2-3:30 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts – Belinda R. Dumont Theater, 255 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg. mfastpete.org
Smithsonian historian and curator Dr. Kate Clarke Lemay visits the MFA. Remember when I said that the best women’s vote centennial events are in Washington D.C.? Well, a little piece of D.C. comes to us this spring when Smithsonian historian and curator Dr. Kate Clarke Lemay visits the MFA to discuss the role of African-American women in the suffrage movement. Sun., Mar. 8, 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg. mfastpete.org
The League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area hosts Suffragist Shuffle. As much as shuffleboard is a part of St. Pete’s culture, we simply couldn’t leave out Suffragist Shuffle at the St. Pete Shuffle Club this February. The event is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area, who is also celebrating their centennial in 2020. Don’t forget to wear your 1920s best, and enjoy the live jazz, open bar and food buffet. Thurs., Feb. 13, 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Tickets start at $49. St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, 559 Mirror Lake Dr. N., St. Petersburg. lwvspa.org/centennial-celebration-events
The Dunedin Fine Art Center celebrates women with art. DFAC celebrates women in two art exhibitions this summer. Look for Mary Louise Pollock’s pastel portraits of exceptional women in the Meta B. Brown Gallery, and artwork from Sarasota women’s collective The Petticoat Painters in the Rossi Gallery. June. The Dunedin Fine Art Center, 1143 Michigan Blvd., Dunedin. dfac.org
The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art showcases works by female printmakers and sculptors. The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs is honoring women in art with Luisa Chase: What Lies Beneath and Woman-Made: From the Collection. “These exhibitions provide a broader perspective of female artists who are working in printmaking and sculpture, which historically have been associated with men more than women,” Curator Christine Carter told CL. It all culminates in a printmaking festival March 7 where you can meet contemporary female printmakers working in Tampa Bay, catch some print-making demos, and maybe even make a little art of your own. Jan. 25 – Apr. 19. Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, 600 E. Klosterman Rd., Tarpon Springs. leeparattner.org
Florida Studio Theater presents The Suffragist Project. Florida Studio Theatre’s Suffragist Project brings eight months of art exhibits, lectures and live performances to venues throughout Sarasota. The Ringling hosts multiple Gallery Walk and Talks highlighting women in their collection (Mar.-May); the Art Ovation Hotel shows artwork by the Petticoat Painters in The Crescendo Gallery (Mar.-June); The Sarasota Music Festival highlights women in music with “Voices Unbound; Celebrating Three Centuries of Women in Music” (June); Art Center Sarasota shows a selection of artwork celebrating women’s progress over the past 100 years in The Suffragist Project: An Exhibition Celebrating Women’s Rights (July 16, 5 p.m.-7 p.m.); and much more. The grand finale comes Aug. 20 when Florida Studio Theatre performs Dangerous Ladies, an original docudrama featuring the country’s greatest suffragist speeches, in FST’s Gompertz Theatre. Jan.-Aug. Sarasota. floridastudiotheatre.org/suffragist-project
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