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10 in 10: 2003 New Tacoma Art Museum Unveiled

29 Dec

Photo: Sharon Styer

(To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Art at Work, our 10 in 10 series showcases 10 of the best people, ideas and organizations to enrich Tacoma in the past decade.)

In 2003, the Tacoma Art Museum moved into a sleek new headquarters at 1701 Pacific Ave., and ushered in a new era for the arts locally. The bold structure by Albuquerque, NM-based architect, Antoine Predock, was immediately acclaimed for its modern profile and silvery, stainless steel skin that evoked the luminous quality of Northwest light and water, as well as the city’s industrial underpinnings. The Predock building was the first ever designed specifically to house the museum and its collections since TAM’s inception in 1935; previous locations included the College of Puget Sound (1935-1958), a rented storefront space at 742 Broadway (1958-1963), “the Old Jailhouse,” an office building at 621 Pacific (1963-1971), and a former bank building at 1123 Pacific Ave. The new TAM proved to be a stunning symbol of the arts-fueled, downtown economic revival.

TAM's lobby with a back view of a Scott Fife sculpture. Photo: Sharon Styer

Last year, TAM celebrated its 75th anniversary with Mighty Tacoma, an exhibition showcasing the city’s venerable and varied legacy of art and artists. The museum is one of the architectural icons of downtown with 12,000′ of open, airy gallery space, plus sweeping vistas of Mt. Rainier, Thea Foss Waterway and the historic University of Washington-Tacoma campus. The central outdoor courtyard is graced with an undulating “stone wave” surrounded by 30′-high, mirrored glass walls.

TAM has announced plans for a remodel of its outdoor plaza by Olson Kundig architects, in 2012. The redesign will address issues of foot traffic and connectivity with adjacent properties, including Tollefson Plaza directly across Pacific Ave. The remodel is made possible with support from a 2011 $200,000 “Our Town” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded to the museum and the City of Tacoma. Congratulations, TAM, and many happy returns!

Enjoy past stories in our 10-in-10 Series:

10 in 10: 2004 Scattered Ephemera
10 in 10: 2006 City Arts Magazine Hits Tacoma

10 in 10: 2001 Free Ya Mind
10 in 10: 2006 the Broadway Center Shines Anew

10 in 10: 2001 The Birth of Tacoma’s Very Own Volcano
10 in 10: 2005 The AMOCAT Awards

10 in 10: The F.W. Woolworth Building
10 in 10: 2001 Tacoma Gets Smart (UW-Tacoma and SOTA)

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