Last week, Ian made landfall in southwest Florida as a Category 4 hurricane. Officials are still assessing the damage: hundreds of thousands are without power. Floodwaters are so still high some citizens are commuting by kayak, while others wait for search and rescue missions. As the government works on restoring critical infrastructure, art institutions across the state are returning to business as somewhat normal.
The Tampa Museum of Art, situated along Florida’s Gulf Coast, escaped any serious damage to its building during landfall or subsequent flooding.
“Our hearts go out to some of the individuals and communities who were impacted by the storm,” the museum said in a statement on Friday. It resumed normal hours on Friday and has invited anyone who lost power in Tampa Bay to “find some tranquility in our exhibition galleries and use our free Wi-Fi or recharge cell phones in the Museum’s Vinik Family Education Center.”
After brief closures, the Perez, Orlando Museum of Art, and the Norton Museum of Art have also reopened their doors, with minimal to no damage to either property. The Bass Museum of Art, a nonprofit organization located in Miami Beach, is also operating as normal.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, located in the city of Sarasota, has “sustained some damage” according to a museum spokesperson, however the building’s “structures and collections are secure.” The museum’s programs and events have been cancelled, and the campus remains closed for “assessing and clearing.” On Monday, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office warned residents of a potential breach of the Hidden River levee that could result in flooding to some 70 homes.
As of Monday, at least 88 people have been killed in Florida by Hurricane Ian, which was one of the strongest ever recorded in the state.