The Minnesota Museum of American Art announces a major grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to install its permanent collection galleries in 2019

The Minnesota Museum of American Art (the M) has received a $325,000 grant in the field of American Art from the Henry Luce Foundation to support the installation of the museum’s permanent collection in its new facility. The new M, designed by nationally recognized architects VJAA, will open in two phases. Phase One opens to the public in late 2018 and will feature galleries, community gathering spaces, and a new arts education wing, the Sifo Center for Creativity. Phase Two will be complete in 2019 and will house additional galleries dedicated to showing the M’s significant collection of approximately 4,500 works of American art in all media.

“This project will help the Minnesota Museum of American Art’s collection finally receive its due as a significant resource for the understanding of American art and experience from the 19th century to the present,” says M Executive Director Kristin Makholm.

The last time the M was housed in a space equipped to present its permanent collection in a substantial way was in the mid-1990s, when the museum occupied the second floor of the Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul.

The museum is now, at last, poised to occupy a permanent home in St. Paul. Upon completion, the M will occupy 36,000 square feet of street-level, adaptive reuse space in the 19th-century Pioneer Endicott building—designed in large part by famed architect Cass Gilbert—on the edge of St. Paul’s Lowertown district.  The permanent collection galleries will showcase the museum’s holdings of historic and contemporary American art in rotating exhibitions and installations.

Teresa Carbone, Program Director for the Luce Foundation says: “The Foundation is pleased to be able to support this transformational project, which will make the M’s outstanding collection of American art accessible to the people of the Twin Cities and beyond.”

Plans for Phase Two feature a gallery devoted to the work of famed St. Paul sculptor Paul Manship and other installations of significant parts of the M’s collection, including American Impressionism, School of the Eight, Regionalism, mid-century and contemporary studio craft, American drawings and photographs, Minnesota artists, and contemporary Native American art, including the work of Minnesota Ojibwe artist George Morrison.

The Luce Foundation grant will support development of a curatorial team of scholars and educators to research the M’s permanent collection, including a contract curator – Betsy Carpenter, former permanent collections curator for the Walker Art Center – to assist with installation plans. In addition, funds will go toward the cleaning and conservation of artworks, construction of exhibition furnishings, and innovative interpretive displays for the M’s new permanent collection galleries.

The New M – A Work in Progress

When the first phase of construction is complete in late 2018, the M’s brand new museum facility will open to the public with 20,000 square feet of freshly renovated galleries, community gathering spaces, a sculpture court, and a “sky bridge” extending the skyway directly into the museum. A centerpiece of Phase One will be the Sifo Center for Creativity, which will feature adult and youth-oriented studio art classes, community events and educational programs, artist takeover residencies, and creative family activities. The second phase of construction, housing the M’s permanent collection, will continue behind the scenes, culminating with the opening of an additional 16,000 square feet space in late 2019.

Read more about plans for the new Minnesota Museum of American Art >>