By Libby Hopkins

Supporting the arts, especially local arts, is extremely important. The arts inspire us. They foster creativity, goodness and beauty. The arts help us express our values, while building bridges between cultures. They also bring us together regardless of ethnicity, religion, or age.

All of these reasons for supporting the arts is why the Friends of the Tampa Museum of Art was created.

“Friends of the Tampa Museum of Art, formally FOTA (Friends of the Arts) was founded in 1979 when the Tampa Museum of Art was opened by combining two groups, Guilders, Inc. and Friends of Art,” said Friends of Tampa Museum of Art President, Carol Gaynor. “Friends of the Tampa Museum of Art is a volunteer auxiliary of the museum created to promote and support the museum through fundraising, voluntary service, educational programs and arts advocacy in the community.”

As one of the main volunteer fundraising arms of the museum, Friends of the Tampa Museum of Art contributes funds each year to support exhibitions and educational programs. Its main fundraisers include the concession sales at the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, Run for the Roses (a Kentucky Derby party), and its newest initiative, the Silent Disco. Friends of the Museum also helps to host members-only exhibition previews, held on Friday evenings before new exhibitions open to the general public.

The volunteer group is looking to the Brandon community to recruit new members who love supporting the arts.

“The Friends of the Tampa Museum of Art provide the opportunities for members of our community to get involved behind the scenes and in front of the action that drives our exhibitions and education programs,” said Michael Tomor, Tampa Museum of Art’s executive director. “Their volunteerism provides human and financial resources back to the museum to better help the staff provide quality art education programs year round. The Friends make a difference while meeting, networking and socializing with other really dedicated art lovers in the Tampa community.”

To learn more about the Tampa Museum of Art and Friends of the Tampa Museum of Art, visit or Membership to the Friends of the Tampa Museum of Art costs $25 in addition to a membership to the museum. The Tampa Museum of Art is located at 120 W. Gasparilla Plaza in Tampa.

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Libby Hopkins
Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.