This sculpture by local artist Candace Knapp, titled ‘Breakthrough,’ is just one piece that can be viewed online.

The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative has an impressive permanent collection of art. While all of the libraries are currently closed until further notice, visitors can access the art collection by visiting https://digitalcollections.hcplc.org/digital/.

There are 27 branches in the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative. There are two main collections, the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library’s Permanent Art Collection and the Hillsborough County Public Art Collection.

The first is managed directly through Library Services. The latter was acquired through the Board of County Commissioners. Artwork from at least one of these collections can be found in 23 of the 27 branches.

In our immediate area, the Brandon Regional Library, Bloomingdale Regional Library and the Seffner-Mango Branch Library all house artwork. The most impressive collection of paintings can be found at the SouthShore Regional Library in Ruskin.

At the Brandon Regional Library, its collection includes small prints of local historical buildings, a sculpture by Candace Knapp and three large abstract works by Toni A. P. Brown (two) and Kirk Ke Wang (one).

The Bloomingdale Regional Library boasts impressive and incredible stained glass work by Lisa Vogt. These stained glass pieces are a part of the Public Art Collection.

The SouthShore Regional Library’s main collection was gifted by John and Elizabeth Crawford in 2005 and includes over 100 paintings. There are pieces by John Crawford as well as works by other contemporary landscape painters.

Ana Juarez is the Fine Arts Registrar for the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library and is tasked with the care of the permanent art collection.

Juarez said, “Artwork can be found across branch libraries. The Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library’s greater mission is to promote lifelong learning and enhance quality of life to residents of Hillsborough County.”

Juarez added, “Art has a distinct way of bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together to learn about the past, present and future. It is a form of storytelling that provides alternative avenues for informal learning, provokes critical thinking skills, piques our imagination and enriches our lives. This is why it is vital to include art in our community libraries. In these public spaces, unique works of art are available for all to learn from and enjoy.”

As our lives become contained through the safer-at-home order, remember that you can still access these beautiful collections online.