Tacoma Art Museum awarded $2M for expansion project

The Tacoma Art Museum has been awarded $2 million from the State of Washington Building for the Arts program to support the museum’s $15.5 million building expansion project. The addition of this grant leaves the museum $500,000 left to raise to fund the project.

One of twelve organizations selected to receive funds by the Washington Department of Commerce, the funds will amplify the museum’s economic impact by $1.5 million annually for a total of $5.9 million. Tacoma Art Museum’s major expansion will create a new wing that will feature the Haub Family Collection of Western American Art as well as a newly designed front entrance that will provide improved accessibility, increased visibility, and spaces for outdoor art. According to Tacoma Art Museum officials, the projected increased visitor attendance will translate into a host of local economic impacts such as increased patronage to neighboring businesses, other cultural institutions, transit, and parking, totaling $24.50 per person on average. The funds from Building for the Arts only adds up to 16 per cent of the total cost of the capital projects it supports. The remaining 84 per cent is invested by private individuals, businesses, foundations, and local governments.

“Tacoma Art Museum is thrilled to receive this investment from the State of Washington,” said Tacoma Art Museum Director Stephanie A. Stebich. “The museum expansion is not only a transformative moment in the museum’s history, but for our broader community, to share in this opportunity to build, connect, and express ourselves through art. The museum is committed to working as good stewards of these public funds.”

Building for the Arts was created by the Legislature in 1991 to award grants to 501 (c)(3) nonprofit art museums, performing arts, and cultural organizations for up to 20 percent of eligible capital costs for acquisition, construction, and/or major renovation of capital facilities. Organizations must be able to prove a community need for the project, their ability to complete it expediently, have the capacity to run the facility effectively, and the availability of other funding sources. In 1999, Tacoma Art Museum received $836,125 from Building for the Arts to support the construction of the current Antoine Predock-designed building on Pacific Avenue.

Tacoma Art Museum’s other funding sources for the $15.5 million project include a recent $400,000 grant from the M J Murdock Charitable Trust. Since 1975, the Trust has invested almost $650 million into nonprofit organizations in the form of grants and enrichment programs. Their goal is to strengthen the region’s educational, spiritual, and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. In addition to many generous individual donors, the museum has also received funds from the Ben B. Cheney Foundation, City of Tacoma, National Endowment for the Arts, The Norcliffe Foundation, KeyBank Foundation, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, D.V. and Ida J. McEachern Trust, Brown and Brown of Washington, Sellen Construction, and Tremaine Foundation.

Other organizations who received a Building for the Arts grant include Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Tacoma’s Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, Tacoma Musical Playhouse, Coyote Central, Icicle Creek-Snowy Owl Center, and Washington Center for the Performing Arts.

Tacoma Art Museum has recently launched the public portion of its campaign and is asking the public to Pause Life and Play Art as they raise funds to enliven Tacoma through thriving arts, help fuel our economy, and create a civic gathering space for the community. To learn more about the campaign, visit PauseLifePlayArt.org.

The Tacoma Art Museum's expansion and redesign. (IMAGE COURTESY TACOMA ART MUSEUM)

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Tacoma Art Museum’s expansion project, click on the following links: