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Erie Art Museum

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Erie Art Museum Hosts LEED Gold Certification Unveiling

Erie, PA, December 31, 2014 --( The Erie Art Museum will host the “Art of Being Green” on Sunday, January 11, 2015. This program is a celebration to commemorate the Museum becoming the first building in the City of Erie to attain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification. The Museum’s building is certified at the GOLD Level.

The “Art of Being Green” begins at 1:30pm with a short program to discuss LEED and the $9 million facility expansion that was completed in 2010. An unveiling of the LEED GOLD Plaque will be immediately following the presentation.

Afterward, guests and families are invited to take part in the “Art of Being Green” Second Sundays program. Visitors of all ages can take a facility tour, do a LEED scavenger hunt and check out craft stations where we will be upcycling various items into jewelry, notebooks and more! The “Art of Being Green” Second Sundays program is free from 2:00 p.m. through 4:00 p.m. The Museum is open to the public for free from 1:00 p.m. through 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 11, 2015.

Achieving LEED certification presents particular challenges for art museums given the standards for art preservation. The new Museum facility features many environmentally friendly designs such as energy-efficient heating, cooling, and lighting systems, a comprehensive waste stream management system, and a storm water control system that returns most of the rain falling on the complex to the water table, instead of the sewer system.

The Erie Art Museum is unique among 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. One simple fact—that green buildings don't necessarily look different than other buildings—is one of the many important points the exhibits make.

Museum Director John Vanco noted that the new facility is a not merely a grand addition to the region’s cultural life. Vanco stated, “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, and tripled the public space. The new space enables the Museum to showcase works from its permanent collection of over 8,000 objects, many of which have never or rarely been on public display.

The expansion also includes a new temporary exhibition galley, a 275-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 are available for private rental, providing a unique location for corporate meetings, 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 10,500 square-foot steel and glass modern addition sports hardwood and polished concrete floors. Its contemporary aesthetic alternately blends and contrasts with the traditional architecture of the historic buildings.

The building design allows natural light to infuse the public space and heighten the two-story-high ceiling of the new lobby, café and gift shop. The new multi-purpose room functions as both a gallery and a performance hall with a fixed stage and carefully planned acoustic treatments to complement live performances. It features a dance floor and a projection system for film and video exhibitions. The project also included renovations to the Old Custom House, a second teaching studio, new galleries on the first and second floors, and a conference room and library, as well as new support facilities

For additional information on the Erie Art Museum, visit online at or call (814) 459-5477.
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Erie Art Museum
Carissa Snarski

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