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  1. Visual Arts

Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa names new director

For new museum director Jane Simon, securing national grants is a compelling focus.
Published May 7, 2013

After more than a year without a director, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa has one: Jane Simon, formerly the curator at University of South Florida Contemporary Arts Museum. Simon will assume management and curatorial duties in her new job.

"My first priorities are to beef up our exhibition schedule for 2014 and 2015," she said, "and apply for national grants."

Simon received a bachelor of arts degree in art history from Bryn Mawr College and a master's degree from Williams College. Before USF, she was the curator of exhibitions for the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art in Madison, Wis.

The photography museum began in 2001 as the Tampa Gallery of Photographic Arts in a small storefront in Old Hyde Park Village provided rent-free by the owner. After moving to different spaces in Old Hyde Park Village (each vacated when a paying tenant came along), it moved downtown in 2006 into a rented storefront in the Bank of America Plaza and acquired its new name. In 2012 the museum moved into its current space on the second and third floors in the six-story building known as the Cube, which is part of Rivergate Tower, often called the beer can building for its cylindrical shape. Its exhibition schedule has ranged from historic early forms of the medium to modern and contemporary fine art photography.

About her decision to head a museum devoted to photography after years in the broader arena of contemporary art, Simon, 37, said, "Contemporary art can be a really hard sell. Photography is not. And I have wanted to move up to the next level for a long time, from curator to director."

Current exhibitions are "Tampa Collectors Show," works from excellent private collections in the area, and "Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows," photographs by the late amateur photographer who took more than 100,000 photographs, stored them in boxes and was discovered by accident two years before her death in 2009.

Lennie Bennett can be reached at lbennett@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8293.

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