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‘Catalyst Sessions’ recap: Hank Hine and Laura Hine

Bill DeYoung



The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art opened two years ago today, on April 28, 2018. Monday on The Catalyst Sessions, executive Director Laura Hine talked about its place in the community, then, now and in the future.

“Tom (James) really wanted to give this museum to St. Petersburg to help the economic community thrive,” she said. “Once you reach that critical mass of a number of different museums to visit … we already have many, many people who travel here expressly to go to the Dali Museum. And people who travel here for other interests also go to the museums.”

“We were building on the multiple excellent museums we have here, that now give people a full reason to come for a long weekend, just to go to the museums. So it allows a whole new target market when it comes to tourists and visitors.”

That was pre-pandemic, of course, and for the foreseeable future the James Museum is closed to the public; the Dali’s doors, too, are locked up tight. Dali executive director Hank Hine – the other half of this St. Petersburg power couple – was asked about the Dali’s proposed $38 million expansion, which was partially funded ($17.5 million) by the Pinellas County Commission in April 2019.

“It’s like all things in this era – it’s very surreal,” Hine explained, adding a Dali-esque turn of phrase: “The clocks melt and expand.

“And everything is on a different timeline now than it was two months ago. We’re all learning that.

“So it’s a matter, for us, of patience. This is something that the museum could use to better serve this community, to better serve the way people look at art these days. So it’s kind of a necessity that we’ll find a way towards it eventually.”

The Hines also discussed both museums’ online engagement strategies – their efforts to keep would-be visitors interested and involved: The James Museum at Home, and The Dali Museum Online.

The conversation covered personal ground as well, including how the couple met, their first impressions of the art and artists they represent, and their continuing involvement in the Friends of North Shore Elementary parents’ organization.

One correction: Laura Hine was project manager for the James Museum and James RE, not for the Beck Group as stated in the video.

The Catalyst Sessions is live weekdays at 7 p.m., on the St. Pete Catalyst Facebook page.

Tonight (Tuesday, April 28): Bob Devin Jones.



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