Since 1924, the Tucson Museum of Art has shared a passion for the visual arts in our community, building its impact generation after generation. From its beginnings as the Tucson Fine Arts Association, to the Tucson Arts Center, and today as the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block, TMA has generated enjoyment, an enriched perspective on the world, and exposure to the arts for the people of Southern Arizona. TMA is proud to captivate and impact audiences under the mission of “Connecting Art to Life.”

After more than twenty years in its present location, the TMA Education Center is receiving extensive renovation. Alice and Paul Baker, long time museum benefactors, made a $1.5 million gift to support art education at the Tucson Museum of Art. The gift, part of museum’s fundraising campaign TMA/100: A Vision for the 21st Century, supports the renovation of the Education Center and establishes a fund for long-term financial sustainability. In addition, the donors intend to gift their substantial collection of pre-Columbian and Latin American art.

To honor this historic gift and to recognize Alice’s long-term commitment to TMA as a Trustee, the Education Center will be re-named the Alice Chaiten Baker Center for Art Education.

About the Renovation Project

The TMA Education Center is a unique component of the museum’s campus and is a heavily used area. Previously used as courtroom and judges’ quarters, the building also housed The Museum School for the Visual Arts, a partnership between TMA and Tucson United School District. It contains a research library in collaboration with Pima County Public Library, and is also home to one of Tucson’s longest running summer arts camps.

The plan for the existing 22,082 sq. ft. former City Court quarters brings new features to the building, which has several limiting factors directly impacting the museum’s capacity to respond to children and community needs, modern technology, and a professional administrative environment.

The interior renovation includes the consolidation and rearrangement of classrooms, a state of the art auditorium, and significant changes and upgrades to the research library, conference room and administrative offices. Interior storage space, furnishings, flooring and finishes will be upgraded. Any changes to the building exterior will be historically sensitive and ADA compliance measures will be followed.

About TMALearn!

TMALearn aims to make the Museum pertinent to the lives of community members while building such 21st century skills as information, communications and technology literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, civic literacy, and global awareness. TMALearn values the important role of museums as sources of life-improving educational opportunities for a wide audience. Areas of focus include differences in emotional and mental development, educational and socio-economic backgrounds, and age groups.

The TMA Education Center helps the museum serve approximately 27,000 children and adults who utilize the school and museum facilities every year. They develop multidisciplinary programs with a variety of learning modalities in mind, including but not limited to, hands-on studio experiences, object-based instruction, conversation-based tours and presentations, and intergenerational activities. The department works to develop programs using visitor-centered approaches and visual thinking strategies as foundational tactics of engagement, which position the Museum as more of a facilitator or collaborator than teacher where visitors are actively engaged in their learning processes.

Jalisco, Mexico, Warriors in Battle, 200 B.C. – 300 A.D., clay.
Intended gift from Paul and Alice Baker.

About Pre-Columbian and Latin American Art at TMA

The Tucson Museum of Art’s pre-Columbian and Latin American collection was started with generous gifts from distinguished scholar and museum curator Frederick R. Pleasants. TMA’s collection encompasses pre-Columbian art of Mexico, Central America, and South America; art of the Hispanic Vice-regencies and Spanish Colonies; nineteenth century art of Latin American Nations (Republics) inclusive of the Caribbean; and Modern and Contemporary works from Latin America and the United States.

The Bakers’ commitment to TMA has spanned beyond three decades. Alice Baker is an emeritus member of the museum’s Board of Trustees, serving on the board for over 27 years, and is a vocal advocate for arts education. In 2001, the couple supported the founding of the museum’s first gallery dedicated to Latin American Art, the Palice Pavilion, located in the historic Stevens house. Their intended gift of pre-Columbian and Latin American art will merge with the museum’s existing collection and join the I. Michael Kasser Collection in the forthcoming Kasser Family Wing of Latin American Art, which will open in March 2020. The merger will establish TMA as an essential institution for pre-Columbian and Latin American art in the Southwest.


The Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block will remain open during the renovation project.  Preparation for the work will begin in early spring 2019 with a projected completion by summer of the same year.

All education, after-school, and community programs will continue during the renovation at various locations throughout TMA’s four-acre campus. Check the website for specific program locations.

All TMALearn Docent programs will continue during the renovation at various locations throughout TMA’s four-acre campus. Check with the Curator of Education for details.

TMA believes in working with local professionals. The Alice Baker Center for Art Education was designed pro-bono by local architect Richard “Andy” Anderson, FAIA, Andy Anderson, L.L.C., Architecture & Planning. Additional consultants will include Advantech Facilities Design Inc. The project will be constructed by Tucson-based contractor Kittle Design and Construction.

This project is funded entirely through private donations. No public funds were requested or received.

Renovations are planned to start in early February with completion and opening May, 2019.

Renovations are slated for completion prior to the first week of Summer camp in June, 2019.

Since its inception, art education has been at the central core of the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block’s mission. From its docent program, in-school program, summer camp, afterschool workshops, field trips, and work with Tucson’s refugee community, TMA’s impact extends far beyond our museum walls.

TMA/100: A Vision for the 21st Century

TMA/100: A vision for the 21st century is TMA’s fundraising campaign that reflects the museum’s belief that a community deserves access to exceptional exhibitions and education programs that share our passion for art, culture, and history of Tucson and Southern Arizona.

With Phase I of the multi-phased campaign was completed (raising $1.5 million), TMA launched Phase II in early 2018. The overall project seeks to raise $5.5 million for an expansion of the existing main museum building and the renovation of the education and administration center.

In April of 2018, Michael and Beth Kasser committed to funding the expansion of the Museum with a $2.5 million gift, underwriting the construction of a new wing dedicated to the exhibition of pre-Columbian and Latin American Art. Between the Kasser Family & Baker gifts, TMA/100: A vision for the 21st century is roughly 72% complete. TMA’s goal is to have all naming opportunities completed by 2023, one year shy of its Centennial Celebration.

Additional individual naming opportunities remain available including the auditorium, library, classrooms, conference room, and public areas. Please contact Alba Rojas-Sukkar, Chief Development Officer, at (520) 616-2694

“We believe TMA/100: A Vision for the 21st Century campaign reflects our vision for TMA to serve as a leading 21st century regional museum and our commitment to those who share our passion for art, culture, and history of the Southwest. The campaign is a responsible and sustainable investment in the museum that increases access to exhibitions and educational programs and promotes the core of the museum’s vision of Discover. Experience.”