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Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education represents a new chapter for Shelburne Museum
The Pizzagalli Center allows Shelburne Museum to expand exhibitions and educational programs. Photo: Andy Duback.

SHELBURNE, VT.- The opening of the Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education on Sunday, Aug. 18 marks a new chapter in Shelburne Museum’s history. The state-of-the-art galleries, classroom and auditorium will be open year-round, a first for the museum, which had operated seasonally since its founding in 1947.

The Pizzagalli Center allows Shelburne Museum to expand exhibitions and educational programs, enhancing the museum’s role as a cultural and educational resource for Vermont.

“From the museum’s inception, founder Electra Havemeyer Webb envisioned a year-round role for Shelburne Museum,” said Thomas Denenberg, Shelburne Museum director. “She also viewed Shelburne as a resource for all Vermonters. The Pizzagalli Center fulfills Mrs. Webb’s vision by serving as a cultural hub for the community with lectures, events, music and film along with changing exhibitions of fine art, folk art and design, 12 months a year. ”

The Pizzagalli Center was part of a $14 million capital campaign that reached its goal thanks to many generous donations, including a recent gift of $1 million from Bob and Christine Stiller and the Stiller Family Foundation that will help elevate and sustain educational opportunities for children at Shelburne Museum.

“This very generous contribution from the Stiller family will ensure that the museum, with the Pizzagalli Center, realizes the full potential of its educational mission for Vermonters and for school children in particular,” Denenberg said.

The Stiller Family Foundation gift is one of several leadership contributions to the campaign that includes the Pizzagalli family, Lois McClure and the Theodore H. Church Foundation.

The Pizzagalli Center’s inaugural exhibition, Color, Pattern, Whimsy, Scale: The Best of Shelburne Museum, which opened on August 18, honors Mrs. Webb’s pioneering collecting vision. The exhibition includes nearly 100 works from the permanent collection, including paintings, folk art, furniture, wallpapers, decorative arts, textiles, costumes and many other forms. It will feature both well-known masterpieces and surprising treasures in Shelburne Museum’s collections.

The 18,000-square-foot Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education was designed by Ann Beha Architects of Boston, an award-winning firm with experience and expertise designing for museums and a commitment to sustainable design.

Features of the Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education include:

•5,000 square feet of gallery space that will be used for special exhibitions on a year-round basis.

•An auditorium with seating for 135, allowing the museum to offer lectures, presentations and symposia.

•The museum’s first classroom designed for classes and programs for audiences of all ages.

•A design that meets the LEED certification standards of the United States Green Building Council, including: High efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, underground galleries that take advantage of the thermal mass of the Earth as insulation, high-efficiency LED lighting systems, materials with recycled content and local materials, including Adirondack stone and flooring from Vermont forests.

“Shelburne Museum harbors one of the most diverse collections of art and Americana in the country,” said Joe Carelli, President of Citizens Bank and RBS Citizens New Hampshire and Vermont. “It is our pleasure to support free admission to the grand opening celebration and help the Shelburne Museum provide greater access to its incredible array of unique exhibitions for thousands of people in the region.”

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