Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at TMA

Art draws all humanity together

Art links us from past to present to future

Diversity, equity and inclusion represent core values of the Tampa Museum of Art (TMA). The Museum regards itself as a safe place for our community to share dialogue and express ideas through art. As an arts leader in Tampa Bay and Florida, the Tampa Museum of Art lends itself as a platform to represent and honor the richness and complexity of our cultural tapestry. This commitment extends beyond making admission accessible to everyone. We also dedicate our efforts to creating programs representative of our region’s diverse growth and allowing everyone space to learn and reflect on the critical issues of our time.

Representation matters. The Museum will continue to be intentional in our work towards diversity and inclusion among our boards, audiences, staff, and volunteers to better serve our community, regardless of race, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, ability, beliefs, income, or any other difference. Art tells the story of all of us, not just some of us.

Families enjoy free art-making activities at the Tampa Museum of Art's Vinik Family Education Center during the Juneteenth Cultural Celebration.
Families enjoy free art-making activities at the Tampa Museum of Art’s Vinik Family Education Center during the Juneteenth Cultural Celebration.

Tampa Museum of Art Initiative for Program Expansion of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), Women and LGBTQ+ Artists

Visitors and members of the Tampa Chapter of The Links, Inc. pose with artist Kendra Frorup in front of her artwork during the opening reception for "Verde: Poetics of Shade" at the Tampa Museum of Art.
Visitors and members of the Tampa Chapter of The Links, Inc. pose with artist Kendra Frorup in front of her artwork during the opening reception for “Verde: Poetics of Shade” at the Tampa Museum of Art.

Shortly after celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2020, the Tampa Museum of Art announced the Centennial Renovation and Expansion. In addition to expanding our physical site, this new chapter in our history opens possibilities to be at the national forefront in boosting cultural equity by sharing the Museum’s platform with more people from diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Building upon the diversity, equity and inclusion goals outlined in our strategic plan, TMA is also expanding the scope and variety of the artworks it will display year-round. We will make significant strides to better represent the region’s demographics by emphasizing works by Black/African American, Indigenous, Latin American, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Asian and Pacific Islander, Women and LGBTQ+ artists. Our plans include broadening the Museum’s exhibition and collection strategies and creating new education programs for underrepresented communities.

The Museum’s renovation and expansion will create 20,000 additional square feet of exhibition space within its existing building. From that, 10,000 square feet will be dedicated to exhibitions by BIPOC, Women and LGBTQ+ artists, with at least 3,000 square feet committed to featuring artwork by Black/African American artists year-round. In recent years, the Museum’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has presented exhibitions of Afro-Caribbean artist Purvis Young, African American artists in the Florida Highwaymen and in Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s LOVE IS CALLING, and an exhibition series highlighting the 100th anniversary of the women’s right to vote. TMA’s other recent exhibitions, Verde: The Poetics of Shade and Skyway: A Contemporary Collaboration, a triennial of regional artists mounted by Tampa Bay area museums, shed light on the diversity of local artists working in the Tampa Bay region. Additionally, the Museum has one of the largest collections of Haitian Vodou flags in the southeast, reflecting TMA’s growing acquisitions of Caribbean art.

We are, of course, an art museum. However, together with individuals and businesses also committed to expanding practices of cultural equity, empowering inclusion and highlighting diversity, we believe that the Tampa Museum of Art’s programs can transcend our initiatives to become part of a more significant movement. By working closely with local community leaders and seeking additional partnerships with individuals, corporations, and academic organizations, we wish to inspire inclusion and belonging in our institution and Tampa Bay.

Expanding Art Education Access

Since the Museum’s education programs relate to the artwork on view in the galleries, building more equitable exhibition opportunities will increase the depth of the education programming experience. Once renovations conclude, the expanded education facilities will allow the Tampa Museum of Art to introduce fully integrated year-round programming to the region, offering teachers throughout Tampa Bay the ability to include more topics and lesson plans for school tours. The development of cross-curricular integration is a collaboration between museum staff and public and private academic directors.

With all the additional classroom spaces in the new Vinik Family Education Center, TMA also looks forward to forging new partnerships and working with existing partners to expand the reach of our programs into educational facilities and local communities alike. To better serve the needs of at-risk populations in Tampa Bay, the new education space will allow for more opportunities for community agencies to schedule TMA’s programs that create equitable art education access for parents and children victimized by domestic violence, human trafficking and homelessness; teens who are aging out of foster care; adults living with PTSD, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other types of brain disorders; and people recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. The Museum looks forward to setting a new standard for cultural equity in Central Florida by continuing to develop a diverse range of art education opportunities for all populations in our community.

Students tour the exhibition "Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World" at the Tampa Museum of Art
Students tour the exhibition “Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World” at the Tampa Museum of Art.

Commitment to Board Representation

              The 2017–2021 Strategic Plan’s guidelines for diversity, equity and inclusion set the goal for the Tampa Museum of Art to reflect the Hillsborough County demographics within the diversity of its board. Approved for 2022, the Tampa Museum of Art will fill vacancies on the board with community leaders that reflect Hillsborough County’s age, racial and ethnic diversity.  

Diversity within the TMA board is more than just about race and gender. The collective strengths that unique experiences, skills, perspectives, socioeconomics, broad geographic regions and cultures bring to the Museum add to the institution’s human capital by unlocking the type of creativity and diversity of thought that propels the institution forward. To that end, the Museum develops adhoc community advisory groups that help diversify the direction of the museum while providing a pipeline to board citizenship.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Work in TMA

Each year, the Tampa Museum of Art (TMA) commits millions of dollars raised from grants and other public and private funding sources for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs in the form of exhibitions, education programs for children, teens and adults, free and reduced admission programs, and outreach programs that provide art-therapy-informed interventions and meaningful modes of self-expression to vulnerable segments of the population. TMA’s artwork on exhibition in the galleries directly guides the creation of education programs, including K-12 lesson plans, studio art classes, Summer Art Camps, artist lectures, special tours, Connections, Art Space, video series, Museum books and more.