An Irresistible Urge to Create: The Monroe Family Collection of Florida Outsider Art

Colorful graffiti-style fish in a circular pattern with a red eye at the center

Morgan Steele, paint on board, 11 x 10 1/4 inches. Copyright the Estate of Morgan Steele, Courtesy the Monroe Family Collection 

Adults: $12.00
Seniors: (ages 65+) $10.00
Students (with ID): Free
Children: Free
Members: Free

Free, daily docent tours are available


Wed - Fri - Sat - Sun: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

Thu: 11:00 am - 8:00 pm

Mon - Tue: Closed


Collecting Outsider art was not intentional for Gary Monroe. "Things just came my way," he said. "The artists were all interesting. I became curious about the work, which was all so invigorating because of the makers' freedom of expression and, of course, the visual resolve they found to express themselves. These works questioned assumptions of what art is or what art can be. While they provoked, they delighted. 
Further, the artists possessed little, if any, concern with public acclaim, museum exhibitions, or their creations' sales. Needless to say, they did not have artists' reps or résumés." 

One thing led to another, and Monroe accumulated nearly 1,000 pieces of art. Eighty-six works from the Monroe Family Collection were selected for this exhibition, accompanied by an exhibition catalog. The publication included an introduction by Gary Monroe, a discussion by Senior Curator Kathy Goncharov about the changing vocabulary of self-taught and folk artists, an in-depth essay by Tampa Museum of Art Curator Joanna Robotham, and a specially-commissioned poem by Campbell McGrath about artists' urge to create.

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This exhibition has been made possible by the Museum's Leadership Donors.

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