Final Beam Set in Place on Tom and Mary James’ ‘Gift’ to St. Pete
By SHELLY STECK REALE, Correspondent, TB Reporter
The final steel beam was set in place on the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art.
ST. PETERSBURG – Patronage has always played a role in the arts: Florence, Italy, had its Medici family. St. Petersburg has Tom and Mary James.
The James were joined by St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and other elected officials, community leaders, dignitaries, and crew members on Wednesday (June 28) to inscribe their names on to the final structural beam supporting the 219-foot-high, 105-ton-stone sculpture of a mesa that will serve as the landmark showpiece of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art.
The museum, 100 Central Ave., will be the anchor of about 133,000 square feet of space fronting Central Avenue. Of that, 50,000 square feet will include retail shops, a restaurant, and office space. The remaining space, more than 83,000 square feet, will make up the James Museum, taking its place as one of the largest museums in downtown St. Pete’s growing arts and cultural scene.
The museum will include more than 30,000 square feet of gallery space housing 400-500 premier works of art, a Native American Jewelry collection, 6,000 square feet of event space, a commercial catering kitchen; a museum store, and café, as well as the space required to support and operate a large-scale 21st Century museum.
The cost of the art, as well as the $13.5 million purchase price for the building and $36 million construction budget, has been entirely shouldered by Tom and Mary James.
“I love St. Petersburg,” said Tom James, former chairman of Raymond James Financial. “St. Petersburg has been good to me, not just as a person, but as a business owner; and we’re very glad to give back some of that success to the city.”
Project manager Laura Hine said, “It’s truly meant to be a gift. Certainly it’s all their art collection, but also Tom and Mary have paid every penny to purchase the building, for design, and construction; they’ve paid all the cost. The realization of this project is meant as a gift from Tom and Mary to the St. Petersburg community.”
“The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art is the cornerstone of the progress we are seeing here in St. Petersburg,” Kriseman said. “This museum will be a hub of activity, of learning, and of exploration.”
Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, with a grand opening planned for early 2018.
For information about the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art and a glimpse of some of the art, go to thejamesmuseum.org.
Photos by Shelly Steck Reale, TB Reporter Correspondent
The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art | The James Museum | Art | Tom James | Mary James | Rick Kriseman | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter
#TheJamesMuseumofWestern&WildlifeArt #TheJamesMuseum #Art #TomJames #MaryJames #RickKriseman #TampaBayNews #TBReporter