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Museum of Art hits $20-million in drive

Since August, the Tampa Museum of Art has raised another $5-million in its capital building campaign, for a total of a little more than $20-million.

That sum is still $12-million shy of the total the museum, which is owned by the city of Tampa, will need before it can break ground on a new 151,000-square-foot facility.

The new museum, which will be built in front of the existing one on N Ashley Drive downtown, will be a modernist building of glass and metal designed by internationally known architect Rafael Vinoly.

Its total cost is about $62-million, with the city committed to contributing almost $30-million. The project was initiated under former Mayor Dick Greco's administration. Mayor Pam Iorio, elected in 2003, has said ground can't be broken until the museum raises its entire share.

Museum director Emily Kass said she has no date for completing the capital campaign, which stalled at about $15-million for months.

"Things started to change in October," Kass said. "The upturn in the economy made a big difference. The mood changed."

Along with the $20-million committed, she said the museum "has millions in requests that are pending."

She declined to name any specific donors yet, and some may never be named since historically, many philanthropists prefer not to be identified.

"We'll be having an announcement about some of the gifts, but we have not yet spoken with all the donors to get their permission," she said.

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