Since opening in 1990, the Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida has been a cornerstone of the North Central Florida arts and culture ecosystem. In addition to serving the students and faculty of the University, the Harn is the most prominent fine art museum in the greater North Central Florida region, and demonstrates its commitment to being a cultural resource through its free admission and educational activities. The museum is known for its high quality and relevant exhibitions, many of which have toured across the United States.
The Harn’s collections consist of more than 13,000 works of art.
They focus on African, Asian, modern and contemporary art, and photography with significant representation of Ancient American and Oceanic art, and a growing collection of prints and drawings before 1850. The Harn recently received The Florida Art Collection, Gift of Samuel and Roberta Vickers, an extensive collection of Florida-themed paintings, drawings and watercolors that includes many prominent American artists from the late 19th to the mid 20th centuries.
This gift of art is a catalyst for a 20,000-square-foot addition designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners. The expansion will include more gallery space for exhibitions and a dedicated gallery for The Florida Art Collection. Additional areas will include a print study center providing UF students and faculty a place to closely analyze selected works of art that connect with class curriculum, a conservation studio for art care specialists to evaluate and conserve the collection, and ample art storage for the collection’s future growth.
Five-Year Strategic Plan
The Harn is pleased to share the following five-year strategic plan, which articulates the museum’s vision for the future and the steps it will follow to achieve its goals.
Mission and Vision
The University of Florida’s Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art’s mission is to inspire, educate and enrich people’s lives through art. The Harn uses the power of the visual arts to open conversations about our shared cultural history and pressing contemporary issues through exhibitions, collections, scholarship and programming of the highest caliber. The Harn strives to develop an academic community of creative, divergent thinkers in collaboration with the University of Florida, and fosters joy and community by welcoming students, UF faculty and staff and local residents to engage with art.
Five-Year Vision For Success
The Harn will be recognized as an essential part of the education and development of every University of Florida student by leveraging the unique power of art to cultivate lifelong learners, professionals, citizens and cultural participants. The Harn will be a visible cultural asset for the wider North Central Florida community, where all feel welcome to share in its collections, exhibitions, programs grounds and amenities alongside UF students.
How We will Do The Work
The mission, vision, and five-year vision for success highlight what that Harn seeks to do and why it finds that direction compelling. These values describe in what manner the Harn will go about this work.
Equity & Inclusion
By striving to be a critical part of every UF student’s academic experience and welcome all residents of its greater community, the Harn is committing to equitably serving individuals of all racial, ethnic, gender, sexual identities, ability, and educational and economic backgrounds. The Harn also believes in fostering an inclusive and accessible workplace that celebrates and benefits from diversity.
Partnership & Collaboration
As an academic engine within the university and a catalyst for engagement and well-being, the Harn must work in active and engaged partnership with its constituents to achieve impact. Authentic collaboration allows the Harn to understand the needs of its beneficiaries and partners in order to determine how the museum can respond, thereby ensuring the Harn remains a relevant community asset.
Innovation & Experimentation
The Harn is asking complicated questions and striving for ambitious outcomes. While there are opportunities to learn from others’ experiences, there are no simple answers or clearly defined best practices to emulate—the Harn must discover and create the practices best suited to its community. In order to proactively pursue its vision, the Harn must think creatively, be comfortable with the possibility of failure, and learn and grow from every attempt.
Professionalism & Artistic Excellence
As the most prominent professional-caliber art museum in the North Central Florida region, the Harn is committed to providing a broad audience with exhibitions and programming that reflect the highest level of academic rigor and professional standards. This commitment extends to the Harn’s view that the art it collects and displays—while encompassing a wide range of forms, artistic mediums and cultural traditions—should hold artistic, aesthetic and cultural significance.
Intellectual Freedom & Openness
The Harn believes that diversity of thought and opinion is critical to learning. As an educational institution, it is therefore committed to acting as a platform for open dialogue, debate and discussion about difficult and potentially controversial topics.
Our Strategic Goals
In order to achieve its five-year vision of success, the Harn will pursue the following Strategic Goals, which address its exhibitions and other public programming, academic and curricular work, atmosphere and public presence, and financial and managerial platform.
Inspire connection, creativity and inquiry by aligning and enhancing the museum’s exhibition and public programming portfolio.
Expand UF students’ intellectual development and professional skills by growing and deepening art-centered contributions to academic life across disciplines while continuing to serve the Gainesville community by engaging students in community-facing programs.
Become a campus and community destination by enhancing the Harn’s visibility and visitor experience.
Enable the success of the previous goals by strengthening the museum’s financial and managerial platform.
Expanding the Harn Museum of Art’s building is the beginning of something much larger and more impactful than just a larger physical space. Increasing our footprint provides more opportunities to accomplish the goals set forth in the Harn’s strategic plan. To University students, faculty and staff, as well as artists, visitors and enthusiasts, The Harn: Expanding is really about expanding connections AND minds AND experiences AND foundations through art.
More About The Strategic Plan
Our Planning Process
In 2019, the Harn embarked on a strategic planning process designed to build from the museum’s position of strength and outline the next steps in its development. To guide the strategic planning process, the Harn created a Strategic Planning Committee comprised of executive staff members. TDC, a Boston-based nonprofit research and consulting firm, was engaged to facilitate the planning. The planning process had five phases.
Phase 1: Defining initial strategic questions.
Phase 2: Analyzing the Harn’s recent operations to understand its current state.
Phase 3: Researching the Harn’s market to understand where it sits within that market.
Phase 4: Developing strategies, tactics and financial projections that respond to the strategic questions, research and analysis.
Phase 5: Drafting and confirming the strategic plan.
Planning Process Areas of Inquiry
The planning process was organized around five areas of inquiry:
Vision and Identity
What does the museum stand for, and what is our vision for the future?
Exhibitions and Programs
What should the Harn’s program portfolio and collection strategy look like to best pursue its mission and vision?
Audience and Community
Who do we serve, what impact do we wish to have on those individuals, and what is our role in the community?
University and the Museum Field
How can the Harn authentically contribute to the goals of the University of Florida and the progress of the museum field?
Finance and Organization
How should the Harn structure its finances, staff and operations to support its mission and vision?
Building Addition Details
The 20,000-square-foot addition will include:
- Two Exhibition Spaces to showcase the Harn’s collection including one gallery dedicated to The Florida Art Collection, a recent gift of 1,200 works of Florida-themed art given by Samuel H. and Roberta T. Vickers .
- Print Study Room providing UF students and faculty a place to closely analyze selected works of art that connect with class curriculum.
- Conservation Studio for art care specialists to evaluate and conserve the collection, as well as a space to observe the conservation process.
- Art Storage Area that will protect and hold the museum’s permanent collection, as well as new works coming into the collection.