Tampa Museum of Art Haitian art collection grows with gift

The Tampa Museum of Art announced today that it has closed on a gift of 88 pieces of Haitian art and a $1 million gift in support of the collection. The Tampa Museum of Art Haitian art collection was already one of the finest in the nation.

The paintings, sculptures, and framed maps, along with the cash gift, were bequeathed to the Tampa Museum of Art by the Arthur R. Albrecht Revocable Trust. Albrecht was a devoted collector of Haitian art and was also active in philanthropy on behalf of the country.

“Florida is home to one of the largest Haitian diaspora communities in the world, and we are thrilled to make this distinctive collection available to our visitors,” Michael Tomor, Ph.D., the Penny and Jeff Vinik Executive Director at the Tampa Museum of Art, said. “Mr. Albrecht built a superb collection surveying the rich cultural themes, landscapes, and communities on the island, and this exhibit will add to the increasingly global and dynamic exhibitions we have available for viewing.”

The Albrecht Collection includes artworks from Haiti’s most prominent painters, including Rigaud Benoit, Wilson Bigaud, Prefete Duffaut, and Philome Obin. The paintings, rarely seen by the public until now, present an overview of the major developments in Haitian painting from the 1960s-80s. The holdings of the Albrecht Collection further augment the Tampa Museum of Art Haitian art collection which includes one of the largest American museum collections of drapo vodou or Haitian vodou flags.

The $1 million gift accompanying the collection complements ongoing fundraising efforts by the Museum’s Centennial Campaign for Renovation and Expansion. The Museum recently completed renovations of the Vinik Family Education Center, growing the education space from 1,400 to 8,000 square feet, including four classrooms, a lobby, orientation spaces, and a secure entrance. With these improvements in place, the Museum anticipates quadrupling the number of students it serves per year, and the school tour program alone can grow from 6,000 to 24,000 students each year.  

In 2021, the Museum announced it was embarking on its $100 million+ Centennial Renovation and Expansion to expand the Museum’s gross area from 69,000 to 125,000 sq. ft. New galleries are scheduled to open beginning in November 2022, and the groundbreaking for the expansion portion of the project is expected to take place next year.  

Future programming at the Tampa Museum of Art for the Albrecht Collection includes a dedicated exhibition in spring 2024. The exhibition will provide a springboard for educational and scholarly opportunities, including collaborations with universities on Florida’s west coast and Miami, as well lectures and symposia with renowned artists and scholars of Haitian art and the Diaspora. A publication with today’s foremost Haitian artists and writers will accompany the exhibition and related programming.

About the Tampa Museum of Art

Founded in 1920, the Tampa Museum of Art inspires visitors with engaging exhibitions and innovative educational programs that emphasize ancient, modern, and contemporary art. The Museum houses one of the largest Greek and Roman antiquities collections in the southeastern United States. As one of the region’s most prominent museums devoted to the art of our time, the Museum’s permanent collection also embraces sculpture, photography, painting, new media, and more.

The Museum’s new Vinik Family Education Center offers expanded year-round studio art classes, lectures, and tours that allow children, teens, and adults to discover new perspectives and learn different art-making techniques. Likewise, through unique community partnerships, the Museum offers outreach programs that provide art-therapy-informed interventions and meaningful modes of self-expression to vulnerable segments of the population.

Located in the heart of downtown Tampa, the Tampa Museum of Art leads as both a cultural institution and a community museum dedicated to celebrating its home city’s diversity. In 2021, as part of its Centennial Campaign, the Museum embarked on an ambitious renovation to increase exhibition space and education facilities to accommodate growing community partnerships and allow more hands-on, up-close experiences for students and adults. The Museum will remain open to the public throughout the Centennial Renovation, with an expected completion date by the end of 2022.

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