University of South Florida

College of The Arts

University of South Florida

Tampa Bay Arts Community

Once you join the University of South Florida community, you also join the larger Tampa Bay community — which consists of the Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Sarasota metropolitan areas. With more than two million people calling the Tampa Bay area home, the community is thriving with diversity and creativity.

Tampa's prime location on the gulf coast is conveniently near many of Florida's world-famous beaches, natural springs, and other attractions. The history of the bay area is also expanding which is evident through the festivals, culture, and inspiring atmosphere. Tampa is the ideal place to study and create new experiences for yourself.

The Tampa Bay arts community has been steadily growing over the years due to independent creative projects and increased funding for the arts. As the Tampa Bay area continues to expand, artistic and creative opportunities are always emerging.


There are many historic areas of Tampa that exemplify classic Floridian style, like Ybor City and Downtown Tampa's early 20th century buildings, influenced by the increased industrial commerce and influx of Asian, European, and Cuban immigrants. The USF School of Architecture and Community Design has strong ties with the Florida and Tampa Bay chapters of the American Institute of Architects. Many students and alumni are involved with local firms that continually develop cutting-edge spaces in the community like the Riverwalk in Downtown Tampa, the Pier, and new museums in St. Petersburg.

Visual Arts

As the Tampa Bay area grows so does the visual art scene. Museums and independent galleries progressively continue to promote local and international artists. Local art museums include the Tampa Museum of Art and the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, the Museum of Fine Art, St. Petersburg, the Salvador Dali Museum, and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. All of these exhibit both local and international artists with a great variety of curatorial focus.

There are many places across the bay for new artists to display art, such as owner-operated shops and venues. Independent galleries also provide a place to experience and exhibit work. Seminole Heights has a growing scene that recently introduced a First Friday's art walk. Another art walk opportunity is found in St. Petersburg, with their Second Saturday art walk that highlights over 40 galleries and studios.

Performing Arts

The energy of performing arts in the Tampa Bay area is lively and expands in numerous directions; in the form of concerts, theatrical plays and dance exhibitions. Many locally run production companies and performance venues host everything from nationally touring festivals and productions to independent musicians, dancers, and performers. Tampa is also home to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, which is the largest performing arts center in the Southeast. Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater and Mahaffey Theater in St. Pete are other venues that also present dance performances, opera, the Florida Orchestra, traveling Broadway shows, and a variety of other professional performances.

  • Arts Tampa Bay - Photo of audience attending the reStitch Tampa Bay presentation by the USF School of Architecture & Community Design at the Tampa Museum of Art

    Arts Tampa Bay

    Arts Tampa Bay is a project of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County that helps the bay area find theatre, music, dance, visual arts, museums, film, videos, poetry, and literature experiences in the community.

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  • American Institute of Architects, Tampa Bay Chapter - Photo of student preparing a maquette for presentation at the USF School of Architecture & Community Design.

    AIA Tampa Bay

    The Tampa Bay chapter of the American Institute of Architects provides educational programs, design competitions, and community service programs that serve local architects and the community.

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  • Visit Tampa Bay - Photo of people doing yoga at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in downtown Tampa

    Visit Tampa Bay

    To get more acquainted with the Tampa Bay area, use the Visit Tampa Bay website to discover things to and places to explore.

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