Milwaukee Art Museum Passes Key Fundraising Goals in Plan for the Future Campaign

Posted on January 28th, 2015

Milwaukee Art Museum Passes Key Fundraising Goals in Plan for the Future Campaign
Construction and renovations well under way to repair and restore galleries

Milwaukee, Wis. – January 28, 2015 – The Milwaukee Art Museum has announced it is at 95 percent of its fundraising goal for the Plan for the Future campaign, its philanthropic effort restore the War Memorial and Kahler buildings and reinstall the Museum’s galleries. The Plan for the Future is part of the Museum’s over $15 million commitment to the $25 million project in partnership with Milwaukee County.

“In 2013, Milwaukee County made a generous $10 million commitment toward repairing the Saarinen and Kahler buildings, which house the Museum’s Collection galleries. Thanks to this support, the damage that has accumulated over the years is being fixed,” said Daniel Keegan, Museum director. “In partnership with the County, and in recognition of our role in the community, the Museum pledged to raise the remaining funds needed to make repairs, renovations associated with the restoration of the buildings and the reinstallation of the collections. We are now in the final stages of fundraising, thanks to the generous support of donors, Members, and visitors.”

The Museum has received both public and private donations as part of the campaign. Ground was broken in October and construction has been underway since early fall. The Collection Galleries went off view in November, 2014, and the Museum anticipates revealing the new galleries in late 2015.

“We want our visitors, supporters, and neighbors to know that they are integral to the success of the Museum. The Milwaukee Art Museum is a community treasure, and the Plan for the Future will reimagine the galleries and the Collection itself, making the Museum more accessible for visitors, and creating an entirely new experience for our guests,” said Keegan.

The renovation project, which the Museum has dubbed “Restore. Reinstall. Reimagine.” will:

• Improve the environment for visitors and provide a safe home for the over 30,000 works of art in the Museum’s world-class Collection by repairing the Saarinen building and Kahler addition, after decades of deferred maintenance.
• Make it possible for more art to be on view to the public by significantly increasing gallery space.
• With the addition of a new lakeside entrance, establish easier public access to the Museum, the Collection, and a critical exhibition gallery—thereby providing a better visitor experience.
• Re-imagine how visitors approach the Collection and experience the art, through significant changes to the presentation of the art and a more intuitive layout.
• Conserve energy and improve the lighting of the art, with the installation of new LED bulbs throughout the Museum’s galleries.
• Add bathrooms on every level.

“As we undergo this restoration process, I want to stress that the Museum remains open throughout the year. Most programs, events, tours, and activities will continue while the galleries are under construction, including Lakefront Festival of Art, MAM After Dark, Yoga, Scholastic Art Awards – Wisconsin, Beauty in Bloom, and the Kohl’s Art Generation Studio,” said Keegan. “We have a stellar lineup of exhibitions for the Quadracci Pavilion that our visitors will not want to miss, including Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair, Van Gogh to Pollock: Modern Rebels, and Larry Sultan: Here and Home.”

More information is available at mam.org/visit/museum-renovation.php.

Prominently situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee Art Museum campus welcomes over 400,000 visitors annually. The Museum was founded over 125 years ago and is the largest and most significant art museum in Wisconsin. It houses a rich collection of over 30,000 works, with strengths in 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, contemporary art, and American decorative arts. It is the world’s leading repository for work by untrained creators and has one of the largest collections of works by Georgia O’Keeffe. The Museum’s celebrated Santiago Calatrava–designed Quadracci Pavilion, completed in 2001, showcases both Museum-produced and traveling feature exhibitions.

Beginning in fall 2014, the Museum began an ambitious project to renovate its two oldest buildings, the Eero Saarinen–designed War Memorial Center (1957) and the David Kahler–designed addition (1975), which house the Museum’s Collection Galleries. Increased gallery space, including an entire floor dedicated to photography and new media, an improved gallery layout, and a new lakeside entrance are among the improvements planned. The collections will be off view through fall 2015; however, the Museum is open throughout construction, with a vibrant schedule of exciting exhibitions, educational offerings, and special programs in the Quadracci Pavilion. For more information, visit mam.org.