TAMPA - Demolition day has come at the Tampa Museum of Art.
Late last week, workers started demolishing the parking garage at the museum on Ashley Drive in downtown Tampa. Soon, they'll start knocking down the museum itself. The entire demolition project is expected to take about three months.
The museum long ago outgrew its digs on Ashley Drive, and the building and adjacent garage leaked. A new, $33 million building is planned to be built at the northern edge of a redesigned Curtis Hixon Park. A new Children's Museum will be built next door.
Groundbreaking is planned for April.
Meanwhile, the art museum has set up temporary quarters at the Centro Español building at 2306 N. Howard Ave.
Centro Español will welcome its first visitors on Feb. 15 for the museum's popular "Art After Dark" program. The first exhibit, Drawing Beyond the Plane, is scheduled for March 7.
A week later, on March 15, the museum will hold an open house for the community, with a focus on West Tampa. The mayor is expected to attend the family-oriented event, which will include food traditional to West Tampa and a performance by the West Tampa Elementary School choir.
The museum isn't charging admission, though officials welcome donations. The museum is raising money for the new 66,000 square-foot building.