Located in the city of Pensacola, Florida, the Pensacola Museum of Art is the city’s only art museum. It was established in 1954 by a group of female members of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). It has been home to the University of West Florida Art Museum since 2016.
In 1954, a group of dedicated women banded together to establish an art center for the city of Pensacola, which opened its doors in 1956. Women’s organizations such as the American Association of University Women (AAUW) wanted a space where they could display traveling exhibits, teach art classes to both children and adults, and hold meetings for members of the community. They also wanted a place where they could host lectures, films, and other cultural presentations. Eventually, they joined forces with other members of the community who shared their goal, and the Pensacola Art Association was born (PAA).
It wasn’t until 1954 that the City of Pensacola planned to demolish the 1906 Old City Jail, and the Pensacola Art Association jumped at the chance to change the Spanish Revival facility from a place of punishment and humiliation into a place of learning and aesthetic beauty. Due to the fact that the jail was already fireproof, secure, and conveniently located in the heart of Pensacola’s historic downtown district, it was an excellent choice for an arts center. Upon receiving a one-year $1 per year permit from the city, the PAA’s Board of Directors worked together to convert the ancient jail cells into exhibition spaces. Initial leasing agreements were made with the PAA, which later became the Pensacola Museum of Art in 1982. In 1988, the Museum purchased the facility, which continues to be known as the Pensacola Museum of Art today (PMA). Another cool museum in Pensacola is the Pensacola Lighthouse and Maritime Museum.
The establishment of the Museum’s permanent collection began as soon as the institution was established in 1954, and it continues now. Artworks by artists such as Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Leonard Baskin, Salvador Dali, Thomas Hart Benton, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Käthe Kollwitz may be found in the collection, which spans the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The PMA has offered hundreds of exhibitions and thousands of educational opportunities throughout the course of its 54-year history, establishing itself as the cornerstone for the visual arts in Pensacola.
The permanent collections of the museum are mostly comprised of works of art from the twentieth century, modernism, and contemporary art, including painting, sculpture, and works on paper. In addition, the museum houses decorative arts collections of European and American glass, as well as African tribal art and sculpture.