Tampa Museum of Art’s Expansion: a Hundred Years in the Making

By Victoria Weaver

In an effort to keep up with the rapid pace at which the city of Tampa is growing, the Tampa Museum of Art officially announced an expansion on Monday, Nov. 8. 

This expansion project will begin in 2022 and is estimated to be completed by the year 2024 with an official date to be announced late next year. The two year construction plan will also include a complete renovation of currently existing exhibits.

The museum has been developing for over a century. Originally founded in 1920 and privatised in 2010, the museum has been showcasing a variety of art that ranges anywhere from antiquities from ancient Greece to contemporary sculptures done by local artists. They have also provided Tampa Bay with access to hands-on studio art lessons open for almost all ages. 

The expansion is meant to not only add on to the existing museum, but to highlight it’s current attributes as well.

The four story addition was commissioned to the New York based architecture firm Weiss/Manfredi and designed by architects Micheal Manfredi and Marion Weiss. The plan is for the newest wing to reach out to the Hillsborough river waterfront and also include a rooftop terrace for dining and events.

“Tampa is a very young city, it’s a city that’s very very much looking toward the future.” said Manfredi, in the video announcement of the project.

Once finished, the Tampa Museum will encompass a large part of the riverwalk and consist of large windows that will grant passers-by the ability to see the art within. This allows more access and incentive to visit for pedestrians who might be interested in the arts. 

The museum is planning on adding enough square-footage, about 51,000 square feet to the current 25,000, to not only make room for more exhibits but to also make room for more hands-on learning opportunities and classroom space. 

A redesign of the Curtis-Hixon dog park is also included in the final draft of this project. Dog owner and recent patron of the museum Savannah Muron, 20,  says this fact comes as a pleasant surprise.

“You can tell they’re definitely trying to become part of the community,” said Muron. “Museums are more approachable for people when they’re also a place you can hang out.”

According to the Tampa Museum of Art’s website, there will also be a push towards diversity and providing necessary resources and platforms for artists of all different backgrounds to share their experiences through their work. There will be a  specific focus on  artists of color and any women involved in the arts.

“Expanding the museum means expanding the doors for all of our community members.” said Cathy Grant, Co-Chair of Tampa Museum of Art governance committee in the informational video provided by the museum’s website.

The exact start date for these renovations has yet  to be fully confirmed, but the social media team has been working to keep faithful patrons informed with as much up-to-date information as possible.

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