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Erie Art Museum

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Erie Art Museum to Open New "Green" Facility in October 2010

Museum to Integrate Extensive “Green” Systems, Will be First Building in City of Erie to Receive LEED-Certification. Opening Weekend offers Free Public Programming.

Erie, PA, October 21, 2010 --( The Erie Art Museum will open the doors of its newly expanded $10 million facility, becoming the first building in the City of Erie to attain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The building, designed by EDGE Studio of Pittsburgh, led by principal Anne Chen, will open to the public for free on its inaugural weekend October 23 & 24, 2010.

Achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is a particular challenge for art museums given the standards for art preservation. The new Museum facility boasts many environmentally friendly features such as energy-efficient heating, cooling, and lighting systems, a comprehensive waste stream control system, and a storm water management system that will return most of the rain falling on the complex to the water table, instead of the sewer system. The building will get a vegetated green roof in the spring of 2011.

The Erie Art Museum is unique among art museums in incorporating historical preservation, re-use planning, downtown revitalization, business development, community revitalization, environmental education and energy conservation into its business model. The Museum has embraced sustainable practices with its café operation, special event execution, and educational programming. One of the most innovative features are pivoting walls within the new Main Gallery, allowing staff to easily change the wall configurations to accommodate different exhibits, eliminating the waste from tearing down and re-building walls. Visitors can learn more by taking a ‘green’ tour by visiting special stations throughout the art galleries and public areas. This simple fact—that green buildings don't necessarily look different than other buildings—is one of the many important points the exhibits will make.

Museum Director John Vanco notes that the new facility is a not merely a grand addition to the region’s cultural life: “By building a green building, and instituting green practices throughout its operations, the Museum is lighting the way to the future for this community. Green buildings are an essential aspect of humanity’s response to the monumental task of addressing global climate change.”

The large-scale project, which broke ground May 8, 2009, combines 10,500 square feet of new construction with a 15,000 sq. ft. renovation of existing historic building space.

Sited on 5th Street, the new addition connects the Museum’s five historic buildings, tripling the gallery space. The new space will enable the Museum to showcase its permanent collection of over 6,000 objects, some of which has never been on public display.

The expansion also includes a new gallery for temporary exhibitions, a 250-person performance space, an outdoor sculpture garden, a public meeting space at a new unified, fully accessible entrance, a café and gift shop. Portions of the Museum will be available for private rental, providing a unique location for wedding receptions and other special events. The finished project drastically redefines the museum as a recurring destination for the community as well as visitors from across the region.

The Museum remains on schedule to secure its $10 million capital campaign goal, along with a prestigious $600,000 Kresge challenge grant.

Inaugural Programming
The Museum will have free admission for all during its opening weekend October 23-24, 2010. Visitors can enjoy tours of the exhibit, watch artists demonstrate jewelry making, figure drawing, Asian watercolor, Indian embroidery, and throwing clay on the pottery wheel. There will also be art-making projects for children, live music and dance performances.

Exhibitions on view:

Hidden in Plain Sight: Art Treasures from Regional Collections
October 23, 2010 – April 3, 2010, In the Main Gallery
Great art from collections in northwest Pennsylvania and southwest New York, this show features masterworks by painters as varied as Jasper Francis Cropsey, Angelica Kauffmann and Paul Jenkins, a collection of American Regionalist painters including Thomas Hart Benton and Peter Hurd, portraits by John James Audubon and Gilbert Stuart, drawings by Benjamin West and Norman Rockwell and many other outstanding works.

Auto-Intervention: Paintings by Chris Mars
October 23, 2010 – January 23, 2010, In the Bacon Gallery
Through his work Chris Mars seeks to “create a voice for the voiceless,” using his paintings to express his deep, personal connection to those with mental illness through a lifetime of watching his own brother’s struggle with the effects of schizophrenia.

Sponsored in part by Stairways Behavioral Health in celebration of their fiftieth anniversary helping those in the Erie community with mental illness.

Lee Rexrode
October 15, 2010 – January 15, 2011 in the Frame Shop Gallery
Lee Rexrode explores simplicity and clarity of ideas through altered wheel-thrown pottery in his new ceramic works. Rexrode’s travels and teaching experience have reinforced this pursuit of formal simplicity. In 2001, a lecture tour to several Chinese institutions allowed him to research contemporary and historical Chinese ceramics—the inspiration for clay artists the world over for centuries. He has also traveled in Spain and Portugal, where he studied Iberian architecture and the unique ceramic tiles that adorn it. On his most recent sabbatical, he traveled in the United States, visiting outstanding collections and artist’s studios.

Contact Information
Erie Art Museum
Carolyn Eller

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