The Gibbes Museum of Art to Reopen this Spring after $13.5 Million Renovation
For Immediate Release: Museum looks to past to inspire renewed vision
CHARLESTON, SC, January 13, 2016 – After closing for an extensive nearly two-year renovation, the Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston’s premier art museum, announced today that it will reopen its doors to the public on May 28, 2016. The 111-year-old museum houses a premier collection of more than 10,000 works telling the story of American art. In addition to an innovative new layout with free ground floor admission, the museum unveiled a new logo that features a fresh take on the Gibbes name and its landmark architectural feature—the century-old Tiffany-style rotunda dome.
“The museum’s renovation will completely elevate the visitor experience,” said Angela Mack, executive director of the Gibbes. “Not only will the updated space better showcase our collection, it will provide visitors the opportunity to see artists at work, all aimed at delivering on our mission of enhancing lives through art.”
Ground Floor Transformation
In renovating the museum, the development teams took inspiration from the original blueprints discovered in the City of Charleston archives in 2008 to return the building to its 1905 Beaux Arts style layout. The renovation of the first floor will feature a creative education center that will engage the public through classrooms, artist studios, lecture and event spaces, a café and a museum store. The rear reception area will open to the garden, part of Charleston’s historic Gateway Walk founded by the Garden Club of Charleston. The museum will feature a new glass curtain wall connecting the interior and garden. Serving as a creative gathering place for the community, the entire ground floor of the museum will be admission free. “I think there is a second cultural renaissance taking place in Charleston, and certainly a major part of that is the transformation of the Gibbes Museum of Art,” said Jill Almeida, vice chair of the Gibbes Museum of Art Board of Directors. “I have always felt that art is a cornerstone of Charleston’s cultural identity, and I believe this community will be very proud of their Gibbes.”
The newly expanded and renovated galleries on the second and third floors will provide a 30 percent increase in gallery space to showcase more than 600 works of art from the permanent collection. State-of-the-art storage facilities will feature a closely connected research room to provide ample space for scholars to more easily access and study works from the collection. Observation windows will offer visitors a behind-the-scenes view of the work of curators and conservators. The Gibbes’ renowned collection of more than 300 miniature portraits will be housed in innovative display cases and open storage cabinetry to allow an up-close view for visitors.
Special Reopening Exhibitions
In addition to the museum’s permanent exhibitions, the Gibbes will showcase two special exhibitions upon its opening:
• The Things We Carry: Contemporary Art in the South, scheduled for May 28 to October 9, 2016, is organized in response to the horrific Emanuel AME Church shooting and will address the difficult history of the South and how it manifests today. The artists for this exhibition were selected from the list of past finalists and winners of the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art.
• Beyond Catfish Row: The Art of Porgy and Bess will present several interpretations of Porgy and Bess created by visual artists through the years, including works by George Biddle, the original illustrator of the Porgy and Bess libretto in 1935, and renowned contemporary artist Kara Walker, the illustrator of the 2013 version of the libretto. This special exhibit coincides with Spoleto Festival USA, which will feature a special production of Porgy and Bess with set and costumes visually designed by artist Jonathan Green.
For more information on the Gibbes Museum of Art, visit www.gibbesmuseum.org/about.
About the Gibbes Museum of Art
Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905 in historic Charleston, S.C. The Gibbes houses one of the foremost collections of American Art from the 18th century to the present.
Lou Hammond & Associates