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The Tampa Museum of Art is located in downtown Tampa, Florida. It exhibits modern and contemporary art, as well as Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities. The museum was founded in 1979 and debuted an award-winning new building in 2010 just north of its original site along Tampa's Riverwalk on the banks of Hillsborough River.

Tampa Museum of Art
Tampa Museum of Art.jpg
Tampa Museum of Art is located in Florida
Tampa Museum of Art
Location within Florida
LocationTampa, Florida
Coordinates27°56′54″N 82°27′43″W / 27.9484°N 82.4619°W / 27.9484; -82.4619
TypeArt museum



Since its inception, museum planners knew that the Tampa Museum of Art's original building was too small for its collection.[1] Proposals for expansion or relocation were the subject of discussion and controversy for years. Several different plans were proposed either by the city of Tampa or the museum board, including:

  • in 2001, architect Rafael Vinoly designed a dramatic $76 million building which would have included a huge metal canopy overhanging nearby city streets. The project proved too costly and perhaps unsafe in a hurricane.[2]
  • from 2003 to 2005, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio proposed that the museum be relocated to one of several abandoned or underutilized buildings downtown, including an old federal courthouse and a small office tower. However, the museum board was unenthusiastic about the choices. As it turned out, converting the courthouse into usable museum space proved too expensive and disagreement over the appraised price of the office tower scrapped those plans as well.

In 2006, the museum board and the city of Tampa agreed to use public and private funds to construct a $33 million 66,000-square-foot (6,100 m2) new museum building just a half-block north of its original location. The museum is integrated into the city's Riverwalk project in Curtis Hixon Park at the site of old Curtis Hixon Hall. A new home for the Tampa Children's Museum (now known as the Glazer Children's Museum) was built simultaneously next door.

The old museum building had to be torn down to make way for the current one. In the interim, the Tampa Museum of Art was temporarily moved to the historic Centro Espanol building in West Tampa, which had been vacant for several years.[3] Groundbreaking for the project took place on April 18, 2008,[4] and the grand opening of the new Tampa Museum of Art took place on February 6, 2010 [1][5]


Entry to the art museum

The building, by architect Stanley Saitowitz, is designed to look like "an electronic jewelbox box sitting on a glass pedestal"[6][7] and makes use of aluminum, glass, and fiber optic color-changing lights in the exterior walls to "make the building itself a work of art".[8]

The interior is more neutral, with mostly white surfaces and subdued lighting. The architect describes it as "a frame for the display of art, an empty canvass to be filled with paintings, a beautiful but blank container to be completed by its contents."[7] It includes a gift shop and an indoor/outdoor cafe.

In 2010, the Tampa Museum of Art was chosen as a winner of an American Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design.[9]


  • Sea of Tranquility by Hans Op de Beeck
  • No Limits: Janet Biggs
  • Worlds Apart: Myth & History, Gods & Mortals, Heroes & Hybrids
  • Realism: Selections From the Martin Z. Margulies Collection
  • Syntax: Text and Symbols For a New Generation
  • The Hillsborough River: From the Green Swamp To the Bay


  1. ^ a b "Going 'Dark' With One Last Exhibit".
  2. ^ "Multimedia reports - from".
  3. ^ "Art Museum May Pay Visit To West Tampa".
  4. ^ "Tampa Museum of Art Breaks Ground".
  5. ^ "Downtown Tampa's new waterfront park debuts Sunday - St. Petersburg Times". Retrieved 2010-02-12.
  6. ^ "Hillsborough: Tampa reinterprets its art museum plan".
  7. ^ a b "Tampa Museum of Art / Stanley Saitowitz - Natoma Architects". 10 March 2010.
  8. ^ "New Tampa Museum of Art is an artwork itself - St. Petersburg Times". Retrieved 2010-02-12.
  9. ^ "Tampa Museum of Art wins architecture award - Tampa Bay Times". Archived from the original on 2011-11-19.

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