Northwest Asian Weekly
The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) presented initial design renderings on Sept. 29 for the upcoming renovation and expansion of the Asian Art Museum, set to begin fall 2017.
This would be the first substantial renovation to the historic building since 1933. It will bring the museum up to 21st-century standards and preserve the museum’s historic Art Deco façade through climate control, fire safety, and seismic system upgrades.
“The museum’s exhibitions and programming connects to the many cultural traditions and contemporary issues of Asia, helping us better understand our region and our rapidly evolving world. Our goal is to ensure that we can continue to serve our community and visitors for years to come,” said Kimerly Rorschach, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom director and CEO.
The museum’s landmark building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in July 2016, joining Volunteer Park, which was previously listed in 1976. A modest expansion will improve the museum’s connection to Volunteer Park, adding a new gallery and a meeting/event space, while enhancing the beauty of the park beyond.
The Asian Art Museum is the original home of SAM. In recent years, the museum has seen its largest attendance numbers since becoming the Asian Art Museum in 1994. A significant cultural resource, the museum houses one of the most important Asian art collections outside of Asia and offers a wide range of installations featuring the permanent collection, as well as special exhibitions and programming, including popular public programs presented by the Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas.
Community meetings to discuss the project began earlier this summer and will continue. Upcoming Saturday meetings, all to be held at the Asian Art Museum, are scheduled for Oct. 15, Nov. 19, and Dec. 10.
The $49 million project will be financed by a mixture of public funding from the City of Seattle and King County.
The museum has also received a significant number of gifts and pledges from individuals and foundations. The majority of the funds for the project are being raised privately, and the fundraising campaign continues with an active campaign committee and dedicated team.
For more information on the Asian Art Museum renovation and expansion campaign, visit seattleartmuseum.org/inspire.
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