In a recent article, 83 Degrees featured St Pete’s Woodson Museum, a concept and vision of what the Museum could be. Janan Talafer writes:
To begin the process of envisioning The Woodson’s future, earlier this year the city hired St. Petersburg-based Wannemacher Jensen Architects and Mario Gooden, principal of New York-based Huff & Gooden Architects.
Both firms come with big credentials. Huff & Gooden is the lead design firm for the $67 million renovations and expansion of the California African American Museum in Los Angeles. Wannemacher Jensen collaborated with Harvard Jolly Architecture and Yann Weymouth to create the new downtown St. Petersburg James Museum.
In June, the architectural team briefed St. Petersburg City Council on preliminary design plans, which include enlarging the museum as a two-story building with a rooftop garden terrace overlooking the legacy garden.
As part of the design process, the team also hosted a one-day symposium at the historic Manhattan Casino with a panel of local and national scholars, including Gooden; Dr. Michelle Joan Wilkinson, curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture; and Gwendolyn Reese, local historian, prominent speaker and president of St. Petersburg’s African-American Heritage Trail. The discussion centered on the role of African-American history museums and soliciting community input about the Woodson’s future.
Jason Jensen, the lead architect on the project with Mario Gooden, says it’s important not to see The Woodson only for what it is today, but to hold a vision of what it can represent in the future.
“It’s a conversation about how the museum can have the greatest positive effect on the community from an urban, cultural, and historical perspective,” says Jensen.
He also says it’s important to not only “tell the story of the African-American community’s history and its resilience but to explore art in all its mediums, including dance and music.”