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Baltimore Museum of Art Unveils $24 Million Renovation Plan
Image from the Contemporary Wing which is one of the spaces to be renovated.

BALTIMORE, MD.- Thanks to a $10 million multi-year commitment from the State of Maryland, The Baltimore Museum of Art today announced it is beginning a $24 million capital renovation project. The project includes renovating galleries for three major art collections—Contemporary, American, and African—as well as improving visitor amenities and upgrading essential infrastructure. The transformation is expected to be completed in 2014 for the BMA's 100th anniversary.

Capital contributions to In A New Light: The Campaign for The Baltimore Museum of Art will fund the renovations. The State has appropriated $2.5 million in capital funding for fiscal year 2011, which was approved by the Maryland General Assembly in April. An additional $7.5 million is projected to follow over the next three years. The BMA must match dollar for dollar each $2.5 million allocation from the State in order to receive the capital funds. To date, more than $2 million toward the State match has been raised from public and private funds, including $1.25 million in bonds approved by the City of Baltimore. An additional $1.2 million in City bond funding will be on the ballot in November 2010.

“This is an exciting time at BMA and our sincere hope is that BMA Members and other loyal friends will join us in this extraordinary campaign to ensure that, on our 100th anniversary, this great Museum continues to welcome and inspire,” said Campaign Co-Chair Sandra Levi Gerstung.

“We will use new curatorial research and fresh educational perspectives, thoughtful design, and innovative technology to re-enliven the BMA’s distinguished collections of Contemporary, American, and African art ,” said BMA Director Doreen Bolger. “I can think of no better way to celebrate the beginning of the Museum’s second 100 years.”

The BMA’s capital renovation project builds on the successful renovations of the Cone Wing ($4 million project in 2001) and European Art galleries ($2 million project in 2003) and demonstrates the Museum’s commitment to presenting the collection in dynamic new ways. Though plans will be more fully developed after an architect is selected, descriptions of the collection areas and examples of proposed changes are:

Contemporary Art
The BMA’s West Wing for Contemporary Art houses 16 galleries dedicated to an impressive collection of 20th- and 21st-century art with important holdings of abstract expressionism, minimalism, conceptual art, and the late works of Andy Warhol.

· State-of-the art lighting in the galleries to allow for changing displays of prints, drawings, and photography

· A dedicated black box space to present works of new media and technology-based art being made today

American Art
A comprehensive collection of American art considered one of the finest on the East Coast is housed in the Museum’s historic John Russell Pope building and includes American paintings, sculpture, works on paper, and decorative arts from the earliest times to the present. Nine galleries of the 2nd floor of the Dorothy McIlvain Scott Wing will be renovated to maximize this beautiful setting for approximately 200 masterworks of American fine and decorative arts.

· Highlight the BMA’s works by the celebrated master of glass Louis Comfort Tiffany, one of America’s most renowned designers

· Devote a gallery to celebrate the great works created by Maryland artists

African Art
One of the earliest and most important collections of African art in the U.S. includes more than 2,000 objects that span from ancient Egypt to contemporary Zimbabwe, as well as several objects from west and central Africa identified as the best of their kind.

· Organize the collection thematically rather than geographically so that visitors can more readily see cross-cultural connections

· Display African masks, textiles, and other objects in ways that better convey their original scale and context

Visitor Amenities and Infrastructure
The BMA is also renovating its 1982 East Wing Lobby to improve the visitor experience with a new approach to welcoming visitors and orienting them to the art in the galleries. It will include an improved visitor amenities and an updated BMA Shop. Critical improvements to the Museum’s infrastructure include two new roofs and a state-of-the-art building automation system that will improve the climate control of the BMA’s 10 interconnected buildings. This system is essential to preserving and protecting the BMA’s world-class collection of 90,000 works of art from temperature and humidity fluctuations and improving energy efficiency. An additional 4,000-square-foot space will be added on top of the existing Thalheimer Galleries will increase the capacity for activities that support the Museum’s dynamic artistic program.

The reopening of the BMA’s historic front entrance is the next priority for capital renovation and fundraising.

Renovation Phasing
The three-year construction period will begin in 2011 and is expected to be completed in 2014. Throughout construction, the Museum will remain open and in operation.

· The contemporary art galleries will close in February 2011 and reopen in 2012

· Galleries in the Dorothy McIlvain Scott Wing will close in 2012 and are expected to reopen in 2013

· The African collection is expected to go off view in 2013 and reopen in 2014

The capital renovation plan is the result of nearly a decade of planning by the Museum staff and its Board of Trustees, including a long-range strategic plan, an architectural master plan, and a campaign fundraising feasibility study. The BMA’s 20-year master plan unveiled in 2005 was designed to allow the Museum to make capital changes in increments, as funding becomes available. For the In A New Light Campaign, BMA Trustees focused this first phase on the three major collection areas, visitor amenities, and infrastructure. In January 2010, the Board appointed an Architect Selection Committee made up of Trustees and voted unanimously to award the project to an architect headquartered in Maryland. The architect selection process will be completed in the fall. The renovation will create jobs in construction and related industries, and will provide commissions to Maryland artists as part of 1% for public art.

In a New Light: The Campaign for the Baltimore Museum of Art
In a New Light is the most ambitious philanthropic campaign in the BMA’s history. Since launching the leadership phase of the campaign in 2008, the BMA has received commitments of $50 million. The Museum prioritized endowment first, recognizing the need for long-term financial stability, and has raised $28.6 million or 95 percent of the $30 million endowment goal. This includes the two largest individual gifts in the BMA’s history: $10 million from Dorothy McIlvain Scott to endow operations and programs for the American Wing and $5 million from an anonymous donor to endow the position of the Museum’s director.

The campaign includes six key fundraising areas: Endowment funds for core artistic and educational programs, Immediate Impact funds to support new initiatives during the campaign, Capital support, Annual operating support, Planned Gifts, and Gifts of Art to enhance the collection.

The Baltimore Museum of Art | Sandra Levi Gerstung | Doreen Bolger |

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