- Old friends are best. John Selden
Visit the Tampa Museum of Art
The Tampa Museum of Art opened its award-winning home in 2010 with a commitment to providing innovative public programs with a strong focus on antiquities and modern and contemporary art. It is the region’s largest museum devoted to art of our time and has built a reputation for embracing contemporary photography and new media.
The Museum balances a growing collection with a dynamic annual schedule of special exhibitions that bring the world’s finest visual arts to the region. For example, in 2012 the Tampa Museum of Art was the only U.S. venue for the international exhibition The Man, the Image & the World. Henri Cartier-Bresson, A Retrospective. Additionally, Leo Villareal’s Sky (Tampa) (the Museum’s 14,000-square-foot LED installation on its façade) has become an iconic image for Tampa.
Since its founding in 1979, the Museum has been dedicated to providing quality education to students and adults, with more than half of its programs offered free of charge.
Prior to opening in 1979, the Tampa Bay Art Center (founded in 1923) and the Tampa Junior Museum (founded in 1958) served the community’s cultural needs. In 1964, the City of Tampa requested that the Arts Council of Tampa/Hillsborough County, in consultation with community arts organizations, develop a plan for a City art museum to be built with funding from a bond issue. The following year, the plan was approved and began to materialize under a newly created private/public partnership with the City of Tampa known as the Tampa Museum Federation. The Federation was the genesis of what is now the Tampa Museum of Art. In 1979, the new art museum opened in downtown Tampa on a riverfront site behind the convention center. In December 2007, the Museum relocated to an interim facility in West Tampa to prepare for construction of a new museum facility in downtown Tampa. Construction began in April 2008 and the new Museum opened on February 6, 2010. Demolition of the former museum building was completed in early 2008.
The Tampa Museum of Art, Inc., a private IRS 501(c)(3) entity, owns the permanent collection. The City of Tampa owns the museum building and provides a grant for partial operational support. Through its Board of Trustees, the Museum is responsible for all operational policies and procedures, as well as for funding for the collection, exhibitions, education programs, and staffing.
In 1989, the Museum was accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM) and also was designated as a Major Cultural Institution by the State of Florida. It received re-accreditation from AAM in the spring of 2000. The Museum and its current executive director are members of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD). The Museum has updated policies that are in line with industry standards.