In 2003, the City of Tampa's Public Art Program commissioned artist Lynn Ash to create a large painting that would weave together many of the notable aspects of Tampa's unique character and identity. Over the course of three years, the artist researched met with community leaders and looked at hundreds of photographs. The end result is a collage of nearly 200 vignettes, portraits, and images that all speak to some aspect of Tampa, both past and present. The border that wraps the Story of Tampa is comprised of over 50 individual smaller "paintings within the painting", each somehow specific to Tampa: devil crabs, citrus, Cuban bread, manatees, and bananas, are just a few. Within the body of the painting, the viewer will find portraits of recent and past Mayors, civic leaders, celebrities and national heroes. They will also find well-recognized landmarks, a few more obscure ones, and several memorable events. While no single artwork, novel or film could possibly present a complete story, the Story of Tampa is a visual celebration of Tampa, the city and its people.
The Story of Tampa is a 4' x 8' oil on masonite mural and can be found in the lobby of the Tampa Municipal Office Building. Download an education sheet on the Story of Tampa (pdf), or download the Story of Tampa folder depicting the details of the painting (pdf). Install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader if you do not have it.