2023 Winter-Spring Programming Season

Join us for educational programs featuring a stellar lineup of engaging, inspiring, and entertaining speakers. Each of our programs is designed to allow our audiences to delve deeper into the MFA Collection, garner different perspectives from experts, and reflect on current issues that impact the art museum space, and each of our lives.


The Story of Art
This series focuses on the story of human history, one that is continually being retold as we discover new things and look afresh at the familiar. The series will kick off on February 16, 2023, as we examine some of the earliest known examples of art in the MFA Collection. Join MFA curators on a journey to learn more about our collection, contextualized with other objects from around the world, as we take a grand tour through the story of art.

The Grand Narrative
Interim Executive Director Anne-Marie Russell
Thursday, February 16, 2023, from 6–7 pm

Art Until Rome: 2700 B.C.–A.D. 300
Senior Curator of Ancient Art Dr. Michael Bennett
Thursday, February 23, 2023, from 6–7 pm

Searching for the Middle Ages: 1000–1500
Senior Curator of Collections & Exhibitions Dr. Stanton Thomas
Thursday, March 9, 2023, from 6–7 pm

Crossing Boundaries: 1500–1850
Associate Curator Erin Wilson
Thursday, April 6, 2023, from 6–7 pm

When Modern Got Real: 1850–1950
Senior Curator of Collections & Exhibitions Dr. Stanton Thomas
Thursday, April 13, 2023, from 6–7 pm

Fixing an Image: Photography
Senior Curator of Photography Dr. Jane Aspinwall
Thursday, April 20, 2023, from 6–7 pm

Art Now 1950–Today
Curator of Contemporary Art Katherine Pill
Thursday, May 4, 2023, from 6–7 pm

Museum Studies Institute
The Museum Studies Institute is the MFA St. Pete’s internal “think tank” that encompasses all of the intellectual and creative imaginings generated from, and orbiting around, an encyclopedic art museum. Art museums preserve things—art objects that represent the highest aspirations of humankind—in perpetuity. Yet we do so amid the reality of a complex and
ever-changing world. Lectures by renowned experts on the history of art museums, conversations on engaging topics, and symposia examining current challenges—from climate change to inclusivity to new media—allow us to open up our internal discussions to engage our community in the conversation.

The Encyclopedic Museum
Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims
Thursday, March 2, 2023, from 6–7 pm
Join Dr. Sims, one of the most renowned art historians/curators of our day, as she recounts a life in art museums, beginning with her nearly three-decade tenure at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lowery Stokes Sims is a specialist in modern and contemporary art, craft, and design and is known for her particular interest in creating a diverse and inclusive global art world. Sims served on the education and curatorial staff of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1972-1999) and as executive director, president, and adjunct curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem (2000-2007). She retired as Curator Emerita from the Museum of Arts and Design in 2015 and has since served as a guest curator for exhibitions at countless museums around the country. She was the 2018 Kurt Varnedoe Visiting Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, Adjunct Professor at the IFA in 2019 and 2020, and the 2021-22 Kress Beinecke Professor at The Center, National Gallery of Art. She was a founding board member of ArtTable, the organization that promotes networking for women in the art world, and was recently elected as an honorary fellow of the American Craft Council.

Women Build Museums
Dr. Paul Ivey
Sunday, April 16, 2023, from 11 am–12 pm
Dr. Paul Ivey, a renowned expert on theological architecture and institutional theory, will present a fascinating talk exploring the hidden histories behind many of the most well-known art museums. At a time when women were not permitted to hold positions of power in the public sphere, they were quietly building some of the most important institutions in the country.

Art Now
These programs feature a wide range of people who comprise the ecosystem of the global contemporary art world—artists, thinkers, curators, writers, critics, collectors, visionaries—to inspire audiences and, connect our local community to the world, and expose global luminaries to the cultural riches and local talents of the Tampa Bay area.

Artist Talk
Christian Sampson

Saturday, March 18, 11 am–12 pm
Christian Sampson is a multimedia artist whose practice is anchored largely by philosophies related to the Light and Space movement that originated in California in the 1960s, particularly ideas of ephemerality and optical perception. Join artist Christian Sampson and Curator of Contemporary Art Katherine Pill to learn more about his upcoming four-part installation series at the MFA, Tempus volat, hora fugit, which translates from Latin to “time flies, hours flee.”

Art is Life
Jerry Saltz
Saturday, April 1, 2023, from 11 am–12 pm
The MFA is pleased to welcome Jerry Saltz, Pulitzer Prize winner and senior art critic at New York Magazine, for an engaging talk about art, artists, and his new book, Art is Life. Saltz has been one of the most influential writers about art and artists for more than a quarter of a century. In his new book, Art is Life, Saltz draws on two decades of work to offer a real-time survey of contemporary art as a barometer of our times.

Artist Talk
Odili Donald Odita
Saturday, April 22, 2023, from 11 am–12 pm
Odili Donald Odita was born in Enugu, Nigeria, and lives and works in Philadelphia, where he is a Professor in Painting, Drawing & Sculpture at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. His abstract—and often site-responsive—paintings explore the power of color in an emotional, historical, and socio-political context.

In Conversation
This lively series will showcase various artists, thinkers, and creatives in conversation with each other, often around the debut of a new book or project. These casual conversations will surprise and delight the community and offer an opportunity to delve into current issues, best-selling books, and other topics of interest.

Maira Kalman & Bob Morris
Thursday, February 9, 2023, from 6–7 pm
Join best-selling illustrator, humorist, and author Maira Kalman in conversation with New York Times journalist Bob Morris. After the program, there will also be a book signing for Kalman’s newest book, Women Holding Things, as well as hard-to-find copies of her perennial favorites like her illustrated version of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style.

Billy Collins & Bob Morris
Thursday, March 23, 2023, from 6–7 pm
The next talk in our In Conversation series is an engaging discussion between former United States Poet Laureate and New York Times best-selling author Billy Collins and New York Times journalist and author Bob Morris. The two will talk about Collins’s latest book, Musical Tables, and his distinct ability to connect with readers.

Picture of Health
Picture of Health is a comprehensive initiative that explores interconnected notions of well-being transcending geographical and temporal boundaries, leveraging the MFA Collection as a starting point. This program fosters a holistic investigation of health, encompassing cognitive, physical, physiological, emotional, civic, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions, all with the aim of nurturing a sense of wellness within our community.

Why We Sing
Bob Morris & Jon Arterton
Saturday, March 25, 2023, from 1–2 pm
Why do we sing? To comfort ourselves and our loved ones? To seduce? To heal? To unite groups and inspire revolutions? Join author and New York Times journalist Bob Morris and One City Chorus Director Jon Arterton as they discuss collaboration, community, personal expression, the fear of singing, and why it’s okay to sing even when you can’t always hit the right notes. Chorus members will sing, audience participation will be encouraged, and voices and spirits will be lifted.

Still Striking: Creativity & Aging
Dr. Doug Dreishpoon
Saturday, April 29, 2023, from 11 am–12 pm
How does creativity accommodate the changes that come as we age? For artists (painters, sculptors, musicians, poets, dancers), what are the benefits of growing old when your body and mind begin to occupy alternate spaces? How does one adapt to these changes by adjusting methods and expectations? How does one’s place in the cycle of life affect what one can do and how one does it? How does a creative individual—in a word—persist? Dreishpoon’s series on Creativity & Aging is another opportunity to revisit what has become an expanding interdisciplinary study.

By Design
We sometimes take for granted that everything around us, if not part of nature, has been “designed,” from the phone in your hand to the road you drive on to the workspace you may spend a third of your life in. The By Design series will look at the world around us and the impact design has on the way we live.

Office Space
Florian Idenburg and Aaron Betsky
Sunday, March 26, 2023, from 2–3 pm
Most people today spend a third of their lives sleeping, a third of their lives living, and a third of their lives working. Our work environments significantly impact our lives. For centuries, designers, philosophers, and management experts have debated how best to design our workspaces. The recent pandemic has also considerably shaped our ideas about how to work. In his new book, The Office of Good Intentions: Human(s) Work, architect Florian Idenburg examines this history and offers some design thoughts of his own. Idenburg is an internationally recognized Dutch architect and founder, along with Jing Lui, of SO-IL, a firm globally renowned for its art museum designs and innovative approaches to living. A critic of art, architecture, and design, Aaron Betsky is the author of over 20 books on those subjects, including Fifty Lessons to Learn from Frank Lloyd Wright (2021) and the forthcoming books The Monster Leviathan: Anarchitecture, Re-Imagining Buildings and Re:Assemble. Betsky recently reviewed Idenburg’s book, and the two will continue the conversation in this captivating program at the MFA.



The MFA 2023 Winter-Spring Programming Season, presented by