From the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville to the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, Black art is easily accessible to experience up-close and personal throughout the world. However, many institutions that curate African American art in Florida are in dire need of reupholstering and a fair share of TLC.
Thankfully, lawmakers in the Sunshine State have officially secured $30 million in funding for any African American history museum in Florida that could use the financial help.
As reported by Spectrum Bay News 9, the deed was accomplished thanks to work on behalf of Senator Rudolph Bracey and Senator Daryl Rouson, with the latter politician saying in a statement, “They can receive an outright grant up to 500 thousand dollars or up to one million dollars by showing a 50 percent match. So it’s significant funding. $500 thousand is a great shot in the arm for a lot of institutions that have been struggling to find adequate funding to tell the story of African American history.”
The money is part of federal funds sent to the state, which Rouson referred to as “Biden bucks” before further adding, “It was $10 billion extra that we had to spend that created the largest budget in the history of the state of Florida.”
Here’s a breakdown via Bay News 9 of what that type of monetary gain would mean for the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, an organization currently aiming to raise $26 million to build a new museum altogether:
“I like to affectionately call this project the Smithsonian of the South,” Woodson Museum Executive Director Terri Lipsy Scott said. “There are countless African American museums here in the state of Florida and sadly enough, not one of them have been constructed for being a proper African American museum. And with that we’re excited here at the Woodson to be at the ground level of constructing Florida’s first African American museum.
And while their location next to Jordan Park is historic, Lipsey Scott said the potential for the museum is not even close to where it could be. That’s why she has been fighting for years for more funding. Now it’s paying off. They just received a land donation from the city of St. Pete along with a million dollars.
“We thought it critically important that we station ourselves. We stake a claim along 22nd Street, which is affectionately known as the deuces, where the heartbeat of the African American history and culture resided,” Lipsey Scott said.
In addition to Woodson Museum, other Black institutions set to benefit from this grant include the Haitian Heritage Museum in Miami, African American Museum of the Arts in DeLand and NRHPs like the Jackson Rooming House in Tampa among others.
Applications for the initiative are being accepted through the state’s official travel website, MyFlorida. Do you know a Black art museum in Florida that could use a piece of this payoff? Sound off and put us all on!
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