The Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block (TMA) announced that it had received a $1.5 million art education gift from longtime museum benefactors Alice and Paul Baker. It is the largest individual gift dedicated to nurturing and expanding TMA’s art education program, funding renovation of TMA’s Education Center. The Bakers also intend to donate all, or a substantial portion, of their pre-Columbian and Latin American art collection. Both of these generous gifts will support the TMA/100: A Vision for the 21st Century fundraising campaign.
“To honor this historic gift and recognize Alice Baker’s long-term commitment to TMA, the Education Center will be re-named the Alice Baker Center for Art Education,” said Jeremy Mikolajczak, Chief Executive Officer of TMA. According to Mikolajczak, Alice Baker is an emeritus member of the museum’s Board of Trustees, serving for more than 27 years, and is also a vocal advocate for arts education. The Bakers’ commitment to TMA has spanned beyond three decades. In 2001, the couple supported the founding of thePalicePavilion, the museum’s first gallery dedicated to Latin American Art. The Baker gift of pre-Columbian and Latin American art will merge with the museum’s existing collection and join the I. Michael Kasser Collection, a merger that will establish TMA as a regional leader for pre-Columbian and Latin American Art.
“Paul and I are deeply connected to Tucson and take joy in sharing a bigger vision for arts and culture in our city,” Alice Baker said in a statement. “At the heart of all museums is education. We hope that the renovated Education Center at TMA, in addition to the gift of our Latin American collection, will inspire new generations of art lovers and support TMA’s award-winning outreach programs.”
“This is a transformative gift,” said Frank Hamilton, president of the Board of Trustees. “We are immensely grateful to Alice and Paul for their remarkable generosity and investing in education, a core TMA commitment to our community. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I thank Alice and Paul for their extraordinary longstanding support of Southern Arizona’s oldest visual arts institution.”
The renovated Alice Baker Center for Art Education will include four new classrooms, a state-of-the-art auditorium, a new research library, conference room, new exterior finishes and renovated administrative offices. A groundbreaking is planned for early spring, with completion and opening in early summer 2019 – renovation work will not impact existing art education programs or TMA’s summer arts camp.