Fall Arts Guide: Columbus Museum of Art

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Competing in the art world demands change, and the best museums constantly evolve. They update infrastructure and build new, alluring spaces to attract collectors. Missions are honed, instincts sharpened and new donors enlisted.

In order to keep pace, the Columbus Museum of Art has launched Art Matters, an extensive campaign to increase endowment, improve facilities, expand exhibition space and introduce a new generation to its collections.

"The three goals are to be more sustainable, more competitive and to give greater public value," said Nannette Maciejunes, the museum's executive director. "In 1931, when we opened the building, we owned a few hundred things. Today we own more than 10,000 things, and we have exactly the same 10 galleries."

Visitors will start to see major progress this fall - for better and for worse.

Starting Oct. 12, nearly all exhibition space will close to the public during a yearlong renovation of the main building. Two small galleries and Chihuly Illuminated, the glass artist's latest installation, will remain open, as will the parking lots, gift shop and a stripped-down cafe to be called Palette Express.

"You'll be able to eat, shop and look at art with us - just like you always have," Maciejunes explained.

Once this phase is finished, workers will renovate an addition added in 1974 and build a wing offering about 45,000 new square feet of display space. When the entire museum reopens in fall 2012, it also will boast high-tech lighting and amenities, a revamped Derby Court and a multimedia Creativity Center.

"To create great experiences with great art for everyone - we want to live that mission statement every day," Maciejunes said. "The changes that we're making will enable us to serve the community better."