FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 3, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG UNVEILS NEWLY EXPANDED BRONX MUSEUM OF THE ARTS
Award-winning Modernization Increases Public Space By More Than 50%; $19 Million Project Funded With $16.7 Million from the City
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today unveiled the newly expanded Bronx Museum of the Arts on the Grand Concourse. The $19 million project includes a bold new façade, a dramatic two-story lobby, a major new gallery for temporary loan exhibitions, and expanded room for educational programs and public gatherings. The building's design, by the internationally renowned firm Arquitectonica, has received three awards, including an Excellence in Design Award from the Art Commission. The Mayor was joined at the announcement by Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) Commissioner Kate D. Levin, Department of Design and Construction (DDC ) Commissioner David J. Burney, Museum Director Holly Block, Museum Board Chairman Robert J. Perez, Principal and co-founder of Arquitectonica Bernardo Fort-Brescia, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, Jr., Congressman José E. Serrano, Council Members Helen Foster and Joel Rivera, Assembly Member Aurelia Greene, and State Senator José M. Serrano.
"With this $19 million expansion, the Bronx Museum of the Arts will have a home that is worthy of the spirit and character of the Bronx," said Mayor Bloomberg. "For 35 years, the museum has provided hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers old and young with adventurous and eye-catching art from under-recognized artists and local talent. This magnificent expansion will give the museum more space to showcase the best of the Bronx art scene and provide the community with an architecturally stunning landmark."
"From its series of programs to support and encourage artists, to its world-class exhibitions and its ongoing educational programming, the Bronx Museum of the Arts has embraced its community for over three decades and continues to stand at the forefront of the contemporary art world," said Commissioner Levin. "This expansion is indicative of the renaissance taking place within the museum and in the surrounding neighborhood. I am pleased to help welcome back Holly Block to the Museum, and look forward to many more years of innovative cultural programming."
"DDC is pleased to have worked with an excellent design and construction team to expand one of the most dynamic cultural institutions in the City," said Commissioner Burney. "The new building, designed by Arquitectonica, is a vivid addition to the Bronx, affirming that this museum will make a major cultural contribution to the community for generations to come."
"The Bronx Museum of the Arts, an important institution with a distinguished programmatic history, is uniquely positioned to play a major role in the ongoing resurgence of the South Bronx," said Director Block. "The opening of its North Building with a new art gallery, program and events space, and state-of-the-art education facilities designed by Arquitectonica will brand the museum as a destination to the arts and architecture community."
"We at the Bronx Museum of the Arts will utilize the entirety of this magnificently designed building to serve the Bronx community and the people of New York," said Chairman Perez. "This current expansion allows the museum, long the central force for the visuals arts in the borough, to accomplish more than was ever possible before."
The City provided $16.7 million to the project, which increases public space at the museum by more than 50%. In addition, the project received $2.2 million in state and federal funding. The expansion adds an additional 16,700 square feet to the current 33,000 square feet, and includes classroom space, administrative offices and an outdoor sculpture court. A façade of alternating vertical bands of glass and custom aluminum panels provides a new entrance to the museum and allows pedestrians on the Grand Concourse a view into ground level galleries. Inside, an open arrangement adds flexible exhibition space on two levels, with education and administrative spaces above. The expanded space will enable the museum to build on such core programs as Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) - which has provided professional development opportunities and a venue for exhibition to over 800 participants in its 26-year history - and provide more space for a permanent collection of 20th and 21st century works by artists of African, Asian, and Latin American ancestry. The museum was closed to the public this summer to complete construction, and will reopen on October 7, 2006 with the landmark exhibition, "Tropicália: A Revolution in Brazilian Culture," the first comprehensive exhibition to explore the Brazilian cultural revolution.
Founded in 1971 as the first fine arts museum in the Bronx, the Bronx Museum of the Arts is dedicated to 20th century and contemporary art. Serving over 19,000 people each year, including more than 8,000 school children, the museum presents exhibitions featuring works by culturally diverse and under-recognized artists on themes of special interest to Bronx residents. The museum's permanent collection, composed of more than 800 contemporary works of art in all media, demonstrates an ongoing commitment to exhibit, preserve, and document the work of artists not typically represented within more traditional museum collections. In addition to its public programs, the museum hosts an innovative museum art instruction program for youth and families.
Stu Loeser / Matthew Kelly (212) 788-2958
Teresa Gonzalez (Department of Cultural Affairs)
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