TAMPA, FL — The Tampa Museum of Art has announced that its new education center will be named the Vinik Family Education Center in honor of a $5 million gift made by Jeff and Penny Vinik to the museum’s $100 million Centennial Campaign for Renovation and Expansion.
“The Tampa Museum of Art is renowned for the value of its educational programs and its exceptional support for Hillsborough County students and teachers. We are delighted to advance that good work with this gift, and to further contribute to the museum’s mission to educate, engage and inspire Tampa Bay residents and others around the world,” said Penny Vinik.
“The opening of our new education center is long-awaited for museum members, volunteers and other visitors,” said Michael Tomor, Penny and Jeff Vinik executive director of the Tampa Museum of Art. “We are so thrilled to finally have a facility with a capacity to match the demand for our education programs, and we are grateful to the Viniks for their generous gift to help make this facility and the future growth possible.”
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The education center opened on May 16 and will serve as the temporary entrance to the museum while additional renovations are completed on the west side of the building.
The first classes in the space will be the museum’s summer art camps for ages 6 to 17.
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The most recent gift by the Viniks for the education center is made in addition to a previous $5 million gift made in October 2019 to endow the position of executive director, bringing the family’s total contributions to the Centennial Campaign to $10 million. To date, including the Vinik family’s gifts, the Centennial Campaign has raised $71 million toward the museum’s $100 million goal.
With the education center renovations complete, the education space has grown from 1,400 to 8,000 square feet, including four classrooms, a lobby, orientation spaces and a secure entrance.
The museum anticipates quadrupling the number of students it serves per year, and the school tour program alone can grow from 6,000 students to 24,000 each year.
In 2021, the museum at Cornelia Corbett Center, 120 W. Gasparilla Plaza, on the downtown Tampa Riverwalk, 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 square feet.
The renovation portion of the project is rolling out now, beginning with the new Vinik Family Education Center.
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New galleries are scheduled to open in the fall, and the groundbreaking for the expansion portion of the project is expected to take place early next year.
The design of the entire renovation and expansion project is led by New York-based Weiss/Manfredi Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism.
“We’re inspired by the Tampa Museum of Art’s expansive commitment to arts education,” principal architects Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi said in a statement. “We’re thrilled that the Vinik Family Education Center is the fitting and very visible first phase of the larger transformation and expansion of the museum. These studies and education spaces will provide light-filled settings to connect all the arts to the larger community of Tampa.”
The future expansion project will add a 4,000-square-foot auditorium. Culinary arts classes on the third-floor rooftop area of the expansion will also add to its future education program offerings.
“I am a longtime Tampa resident, and I cannot remember another time when our local arts and culture institutions have had so much wind at their back,” said Jerry Divers, chairman of the campaign cabinet and president of the Tampa Museum of Art Foundation. “This generous gift from the Vinik family, in addition to the historic $25 million donation from Dick Corbett announced last month, is truly transformational for the museum and the Tampa Bay community.”
“As we embarked on the Centennial Campaign, we made a commitment to Hillsborough County students and teachers that we would make it a priority to serve them and make the museum’s resources accessible to them for field trips, extracurricular programming and professional development,” said Dianne Jacob, chairwoman of the Tampa Museum of Art Board of Trustees. “By giving so generously to the new Education Center, the Viniks have made a lasting impression on the next generation of Tampa Bay residents.”
Founded in 1997, the private Vinik Family Foundation managed by the Viniks has donated more than $100 million to nonprofits working in the areas of education, human services, health care and the arts. VFF is especially dedicated to broadening the public’s understanding of art through inclusive, interactive exhibits and installations.
Under the umbrellas of the Vinik Family Foundation and the Lightning Foundation, the Viniks have invested significantly in Tampa Bay area charities through a variety of initiatives – the most notable being the Lightning Community Heroes program, which honors grassroots heroes with $50,000 each for their respective nonprofits at every Lightning home game.
Vinik has ventured into development and, over the last several years, has moved forward with his vision to develop 60 acres in downtown Tampa.
Water Street Tampa includes donated land and financial support to house the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine & Heart Institute in downtown Tampa.
The walkable Water Street waterfront community will also feature corporate office buildings, a hotel, residences, retail, restaurants and entertainment options.
In Tampa, Penny Vinik is a board member of the Tampa Museum of Art.
She also chairs a community arts initiative that enables Tampa Bay-based artists to display their works throughout Amalie Arena.
In August 2016, the Viniks brought “The Beach Tampa” by Snarkitecture to Amalie Arena. Following the tremendous response to this installation, they presented “The Art of the Brick Tampa” in the summer of 2017, welcoming more than 135,000 guests to experience the art of Nathan Sawaya free of charge.
Penny Vinik is also at the forefront of organizing the annual Celebration of the Arts, a juried exhibition that displays the works of hundreds of local and regional artists.
She formerly served as an ambassador for the nonprofit, Dress for Success.
Jeff and Penny Vinik moved to Tampa in 2012 after Jeff Vinik acquired the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team. After 20-plus years in Boston, the Viniks were thrilled to experience the warmth of Tampa Bay, both in the weather and in the people.
In partnership with Cascade Investment, the investment arm of the Gates Foundation, Jeff Vinik and his real estate development company, Strategic Property Partners, are re-imagining downtown Tampa.
Founded in 1920, the Tampa Museum of Art offers exhibitions and 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 well as sculpture, photography, painting and new media.
Online programs add to the year-round studio art classes, lectures and tours that allow children, teens and adults to discover new perspectives and learn different art-making techniques.
Through unique community partnerships, the museum offers outreach programs that provide art-therapy interventions and modes of self-expression to vulnerable segments of the population.
The Tampa Museum of Art is open seven days a week, Monday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm and Thursday from 10 am to 8 pm
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