Local designers upset that they weren't asked to create new Tampa Museum of Art logo

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At Thursday's City Council meeting, Elaine Simmons said that her design meet-up group met on Monday night and discussed the fact that the logo had been done by Elizabeth Hall.  "Everyone was extremely disappointed and upset and, at best annoyed, and at worse, deeply insulted that this job has been farmed out from an art point of view."  Simmons said it was a "plum assignment" and surprising that someone "nobody knows about in South Carolina" got the gig.

Tampa graphic designer Art Fryvolent told the Council that he was shocked that there aren't any rules or procedures in place for the city to manage how contracts like the art logo job can go out of state "when there are lots of companies here locally that would do a great job on something like that."  Fryvolent added that he wishes the city would "consider a way to look for companies locally and spend money here before you go outside, and especially going out to the state in South Carolina."

The Tampa Tribune reported last weekend that museum director Todd Smith had become familiar with Simmons' work when he was at the Gibbes Museum in Charleston.

But although several municipalities have recently enacted or at least had serious discussions about crafting ordinances that give preferences to local vendors, the Tampa City Council rejected such an idea by a 5-1 vote last month.

But is it even the Council's call when it comes to the Museum, which is a publicly owned facility that always has relied on private funding?

CL contacted TMA spokesperson Nancy Kipnis on Thursday about the complaints.  We've not heard back from her as of this morning.

After years of stops and starts, the new Tampa Museum of Art is scheduled to be open to the public tomorrow morning.  There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony beginning at 10:30 a.m., and the museum doors open free to the public at 11 a.m.

But there are some local art designers in the area who are a bit bummed out about the new logo for the museum (shown at right).  More specifically, they're upset that it was designed by a South Carolinian, and not a designer living in the Tampa Bay region.

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