Columbus Museum of Art reopens after major expansion

The new wing of the museum in Columbus, Ohio. Art. Image courtesy of the Columbus Museum of Art

The new wing of the museum in Columbus, Ohio. Art. Image courtesy of the Columbus Museum of Art


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The Columbus Museum of Art is reopening after a $37.6 million expansion and renovation that includes a new, modern-designed addition and a focus on openness throughout the facility.

A new wing and the latest round of renovations was unveiled Sunda, marking the end of a multiphase project rooted in a $93 million endowment and capital campaign that started in 2007, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

The project includes 50,000 square feet of space, infrastructure upgrades and the reinvention of outdoor and event spaces. It features windows – referred to as cinematic facades by the architect – that opens the museum to the outside world. Its expansion also sits closer to the street than the original 1931 building done in the Beaux Arts style.

“In a way, the museum is reaching out and inviting people in,” said lead architect Michael Bongiorno of the Columbus firm DesignGroup.

That’s especially true on the opposite side of the museum, where pedestrians can mosey around new green spaces, a new sculpture garden and the new museum shop and restaurant without paying admission.

The new main entrance is much larger and features high ceilings that reinforce the accessibility it offers to other areas of the museum.

The expansion reflects a national trend among museums, many of which are creating more town square-like spaces and making themselves “places where people just want to stop in and stay,” said Ken Emerick, of the Ohio Arts Council. He said upgrades will help the museum attract major touring exhibits.

“In the past,” Emerick said, “I think they had to bypass some, simply because they didn’t have the space.”

The renovation is also intended to accommodate the museum’s permanent collection and create a space for a variety of events, museum officials said.

“We’re not just about the art, although our collection is fabulous,” said Jay Vorys, past president of the museum board. “We’re about education and connecting the community to an institution that is owned by the community.”

Remaining work includes springtime landscaping of the museum’s Broad Street lawn and reopening the back entrance to the museum.

Information from: The Columbus Dispatch,

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