A Celebration of Diversity at
the Tampa Museum of Art
The LGBTQ+ community plays a significant role in the artistic and cultural fabric of Tampa Bay and around the world. The Tampa Museum of Art (TMA) holds Pride & Passion each year in collaboration with the LGBTQ+ community and its allies to be vocal in celebrating diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). When Pride & Passion started in 2006, TMA was one of the only organizations in the Tampa Bay area that was not an exclusively dedicated LGBTQ+ entity to hold such a community awareness program. We believe that the values that Pride & Passion represents are important now more than ever in preserving past victories and making new strides towards equity and equality.
Allies and members of the LGBTQ+ community volunteer to make up the Pride & Passion committee and produce this event because of their shared enthusiasm for the Tampa Museum of Art’s mission and DEI objectives. Pride & Passion itself is the culmination of the hard work that the committee does in a year-long process to make everyone from all walks of life feel included in a place that celebrates the uniqueness of everybody.
The Museum holds this event to highlight Tampa Bay’s diverse community and to commemorate that the Museum is a safe place to convene, celebrate and educate the public about members of the community who, through artistic expression, have been marginalized as a result of ethnicity, race, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Through exhibition and education programming, TMA gives people from diverse backgrounds and experiences an equal platform to those otherwise considered mainstream.
Pride & Passion is the right thing to do given our times’ political and social landscape, and it’s a firm reminder that all are welcome at the Tampa Museum of Art.
History of Pride & Passion at TMA
In 1995, Hillsborough County Commissioners repealed a 1991 ordinance that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation.1 Ten years later, in 2005, opponents of LGBTQ+ rights pushed the county commission further to declare a policy to ban the county from “acknowledging, promoting and participating in Gay Pride recognition and events.”2
In 2005, a group of concerned LGBTQ+ community leaders reached out to the Tampa Museum of Art’s leadership about hosting a private event that would allow the community to convene and celebrate Gay Pride while the public hosted celebrations outside of Hillsborough County. With a resounding yes from the Museum, the LGBTQ+ community partnered with TMA to develop Pride & Passion.
On June 9, 2006, TMA introduced the first-ever Pride & Passion gala, a lively, high-style event designed by a committee of LGBTQ+ community members and allies. The inaugural Pride & Passion event was co-produced by the Tampa Museum of Art, independent public relations consultant Scott Taylor and committee members Carrie Mackin, Scott Moore and Sasha, Eric Siglin and Lorrie White. Guests who attended the first Pride & Passion at the Museum also enjoyed two exhibitions that echoed the themes of diversity and LGBTQ+ contributions to the arts: Keith Haring: Art & Commerce, A Tribute to the Pop Shop and the Family Values Portrait Project.
Aimed at bringing together arts supporters, Pride & Passion also served as a way for the LGBTQ+ community and allies to raise funds that help the Tampa Museum of Art reduce admission barriers and create safe places for people to experience the arts and celebrate local talent.
The LGBTQ+ community played a significant role in reversing the Hillsborough County Gay Pride ban in 2013.1,2 The same community has kept enthusiasm for Pride & Passion growing year after year, making it the Museum’s most popular fundraiser and a favorite event in Downtown Tampa. Each year this community celebration of diversity is also possible thanks to businesses and individuals offering financial support, volunteer time, in-kind donations and discounted services that make each year’s event one of a kind.
While Pride & Passion’s yearly net financial goal of $85,000 does offset the Museum’s non-salary cost of holding the event (including facility maintenance, security, marketing, development, events, accounting and administration), the funds raised supplement diversity, equity and inclusion programming at the Museum. Each year, TMA commits millions of dollars raised from grants and other public and private funding sources for 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.
The Museum provides year-round opportunities to reflect on and discuss topics that affect marginalized communities. Today, the Tampa Museum of Art is proud to continue to be a vocal advocate of Gay Pride because of the diversity and the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community to arts and culture.
- Smith, Nadine. “Equality Means Business.” America, the Owner’s Manual, by Bob Graham and Chri Hand, 2016, p. 177, https://www.socialsciencespace.com/wp-content/uploads/Graham_Ch-7_Equality-Means-Business.pdf.
- Walters, Quincy. “Hillsborough County Ends Ban On Gay Pride Events.” 83Degrees, 6 June 2013, https://www.83degreesmedia.com/features/lgbt060613.aspx.