St. Petersburg, Florida -- A snail-headed, stilt-walking conquistador led a throng of surreal supporters through the streets of St. Petersburg.
Some fans came as complete costumed creations: a deep-sea diver on dry land, a woman with hair styled like a tree limb. Others stuck with simple tributes to Salvador Dali's trademark mustache, done with face paint or pipe cleaners.
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Behind them was a warehouse repurposed nearly 30 years ago to old one of the world's most imaginative art collections. Ahead stood a museum of flowing crystal and cubic concrete that's as much a work of art as the paintings inside it.
Her Royal Highness, the Infanta Cristina -- daughter of the king and queen of Spain, Salvador Dali's homeland -- looked on as the glass-and concrete temple of the unusual was opened to visitors at noon Tuesday.
For the first time, the irreplaceable array of nearly 100 paintings and other works of art is protected from hurricanes.
For the first time, there is room to display the entire collection together.
And for the first time, the dream of a museum as grand and strange and wonderful as Dali's art -- has been "surrealized."
The $36 million building was designed by Yann Weymouth of architectural firm HOK and built by The Beck Group.
For ticket information, visit the Salvador Dali Museum website.
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