Saint Louis Art Museum Marks One Year on Expansion

. January 31, 2011 . 0 Comments

New 300-space parking garage takes shape Work on new Level 1 concourse begins

The Saint Louis Art Museum announces significant progress after one year of construction on its more-than-200,000-square-foot, David Chipperfield–designed expansion in Forest Park. The perimeter of the new 300-plus-space parking garage is completely enclosed and floors are being constructed. In the Main Building crews are preparing for the construction of a new central staircase, which will connect Sculpture Hall to the Lower Level and a new public concourse that will integrate the new and existing facilities, including the newly renovated Museum Shop, Auditorium and Education Center.


The Saint Louis Art Museum

The Level 1 concourse will also connect with an expanded cafe, as well as link visitors to the new underground garage. In preparation for this work, a construction barrier has fully enclosed the south end of Sculpture Hall. The 17-foot-tall structure will remain in place until spring 2011 while work on the new central staircase is underway.

“We have entered an exciting phase in this project,” said Museum Director Brent R. Benjamin. “This is when we begin to physically connect the original building with the expansion. In the coming months the new building will begin to take shape.”

An expanded Education Center is included in the renovation plans for the South Building. The Museum’s Board of Commissioners appointed TAO + Lee Associates, Inc. architect for the Education Center in June 2010. To better serve the Museum’s education program, the project includes new classrooms and multi-use spaces.

The Neptune Fountain, which graced the center of Sculpture Hall for 52 years, will be reinstalled at the Museum’s South Building Entrance as part of the planned school group entrance.

The Museum announced the public phase of its $145 million Campaign for the Saint Louis Art Museum on January 19, 2010. Artist and entrepreneur Mary Engelbreit is the chair of the public phase. As of December 31, 2010, gifts to the campaign totaled more than $142 million. The $130.5 million project, along with a supporting endowment of $31.2 million, is being underwritten by private philanthropy, foundation support and proceeds from the sale of tax exempt bonds. While tax proceeds continue to provide critical annual support for the Museum’s operations, no tax funds will be used for the expansion.

As of November 30, 2010 the endowment stood at $95.6 million, an 8.8 percent increase year to year. The Museum’s endowment marked a historic high on January 3 when it surpassed $100 million. This is the result of contributions, proceeds of the gala, fiscal prudence and kinder forces in the market.

“The endowment will be an important resource to support a significantly larger Museum enterprise and is a critical portion of the Campaign,” said Carl Hamm, deputy director for development and external affairs.

When complete the overall expansion will represent a 30 percent increase in the Museum’s gallery and public space and will more than double its prior parking capacity. The Museum remains open to the public during construction.

The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the nation’s leading comprehensive art museums with collections that include works of art of exceptional quality from virtually every culture and time period. Areas of notable depth include Oceanic art, pre-Columbian art, ancient Chinese bronzes and European and American art of the late 19th and 20th centuries, with particular strength in 20th-century German art. The Museum offers a full range of exhibitions and educational programming generated independently and in collaboration with local, national and international partners.

Transforming Your Museum
Gallery closures and art movement throughout the Museum are anticipated as we make progress toward our exciting expansion project. Thanks for your patience.

Admission to the Saint Louis Art Museum is free to all every day. For more information about the Saint Louis Art Museum, call 314.721.0072 or visit www.slam.org

Category: Museum News

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