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Tacoma Art Museum Debuts Its New Space This Weekend

Olson Kundig Architects
A rendering of TAM's new wing.

This weekend the Tacoma Art Museum is inviting the public to explore its new spaces. An addition was built to hold a collection of art that was donated by a German family with Northwest ties.

The 16,000 feet of additional space includes four galleries and a sculpture hall. Erivan and Helga Haub donated more than 200 paintings and bronze sculptures. The collection is called Art of the American West. The Haubs, who made billions in the grocery business in Germany, also gave Tacoma Art Museum $15 million to help construct the addition.

Where the original building and the new merge is hard to tell. The lobby is larger and now offers a peek of sailboat masts bobbing up and down in a nearby marina and a view of Mount Rainier on days when the weather cooperates.

People will be able to enter the museum’s workspace on the main floor to create art, using the museum’s supplies, all free of charge. And there are two new sculptures outside the museum; a third will be installed next spring.

The Haubs came to the U.S. after World War II. Tacoma was their adopted home until the mid-1990s. The family has played a role in boosting other Tacoma institutions. They helped establish the University of Washington Tacoma campus, contributed to the repair of Union Station and are supporters of LeMay, America’s Car Museum.

Jennifer Wing is a former KNKX reporter and producer who worked on the show Sound Effect and Transmission podcast.