On June 21, 2010, in preparation for the museums expansion and modernization project, the Allentown Art Museum
will close the Founders Gallery temporarily for the de-installation of the Kress Collection. The Collection, which encompasses a superb group of Renaissance and Baroque paintings and sculpture, will go into storage for the duration of the project. It will be put back on public view in the renovated and expanded museum in fall of 2011. Visitors will have through June 20, 2010 to see the Kress Collection in its present setting.
On July 18, 2010, Peter Grippe: A Personal Vocabulary will open in the Founders Gallery. The exhibition will run until November 14, 2010; the Grippe opening party will be on Wednesday, July 21 from 6-8 p.m.
The museums Kress Collection owes its origins to a substantial gift of over 60 works from the collector and philanthropist Samuel H. Kress (1863-1955) and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, which came to the museum in 1960 and 1961.
The Kress Collection features Renaissance and Baroque art; and includes a fine selection of Italian, Dutch, Flemish and rare German paintings, as well as works of early European sculpture. Since the initial Kress gift, the museum has supplemented its strength in these areas by acquiring some 40 additional works of art, including an impressive selection of 17th century Dutch and Flemish paintings.
From Feb. 5 to March 26, 2011, a portion of the Collection will be on loan to the Williams Center Art Gallery at Lafayette College in Easton, giving Lehigh Valley residents an opportunity to appreciate these perennial favorites before they return to their permanent home at the Allentown Art Museum in late fall 2011.
Currently housed in a 1901 Neo-Classical church with a 1975 addition, the Allentown Art Museum will be renovated and 7,900 square feet of additional space will be constructed. Some of the design features will include: A renovated museum lobby to create a more welcoming, warm and inviting atmosphere for our visitors; a new entrance through the existing portico of the 1901 church building, which housed the museum from 1959 through 1975; a new aluminum and metal curtainwall façade structure that will be aligned with the portico of the church; an expanded museum store and an addition of a café overlooking the Arts Park; expansion of the Linden Street parking lot, providing parking for staff and visitors; creation of additional gallery and classroom spaces; expansion of the loading dock area; and creation of additional storage space for the museums permanent collection, recently enhanced by new collections.
The museums expansion was designed by renowned architecture firm Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates (VSBA). The project, which is expected to take between 15-18 months, will give a fresh look to the museum and expand its offerings with a new classroom and additional galleries. Construction kicked off last month.
The Allentown Art Museums capital campaign has raised a total of $20.4 million; $15.4 million will be used for the expansion project and related costs and $5 million will be added to the museums endowment. Alvin H. Butz, Inc. is the construction manager.