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Art Museum Plans Expansion Opening Date


Public festival set for June to celebrate project completion



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The new East Building of the Saint Louis Art Museum will open in June of 2013. (click for larger version)
September 12, 2012
The Board of Commissioners of the Saint Louis Art Museum recently announced the opening dates for its new East Building, designed by renowned British architect Sir David Chipperfield. A free, two-day public festival June 29-30, 2013 will invite the entire community to celebrate the completion of this landmark project.

"St. Louisans can look at this accomplishment with pride," said J. Patrick Mulcahy, president of the Board of Commissioners. "Each of us has taken a role in securing the Saint Louis Art Museum's place among the great art museums of the world."

The 200,000-square-foot East Building has been sited to the east and south of the museum's Main Building, which was designed in the Beaux Arts style by architect Cass Gilbert and completed for the city's 1904 World's Fair.

Chipperfield's design for the new East Building features a dramatic dark, polished concrete façade incorporating Missouri River aggregates, and new galleries and public spaces with skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows that invite and provide views from both inside and outside.

"The expansion project is transformational. Every area of our collection is benefitting from additional gallery space," said museum director Brent R. Benjamin.

"The new building will enable a dramatically expanded presentation of the great strengths of the collection, including works of art that have rarely, and in some cases never been on public view."

In addition to providing a 30 percent increase in the museum's gallery and public spaces, the design more than doubles the museum's previous parking capacity and includes a 100-seat destination restaurant with sweeping views of Forest Park. The project has also allowed extensive improvements to the South Building's education spaces and auditorium. The $162 million project was made possible by the largest capital campaign for a cultural institution in St. Louis history.

"The success of this project is the result of St. Louisans stepping forward to support their art museum and its future," said John Weil, chair of the campaign steering committee and president of the Board of Commissioners (2008-2011).

Details on the two-day celebration as well as events leading up to the opening are being developed; for more information visit slam.org/expansion.

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