Westmoreland Museum of American Art
Art is the Future for Westmoreland!
by Karen Fetter
Many have visited The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in the heart of downtown Greensburg to see the latest exhibit, view a piece from the permanent collection, take a class, or allow their children to voyage through the backpack program. Now however, things are about to change and The Future
Westmoreland will offer so much more.
The Westmoreland Museum of American Art is beginning a two-year transformation project that will completely renovate and expand the 54-year old building.
You can learn more by visiting the Museum’s website at www.wmuseumaa.org.
The Groundbreaking Ceremony
The groundbreaking ceremony took place at noon on Friday, July 12, 2013 and the completed project will reopen in the spring 2015 as The Future Westmoreland. In the interim, the museum will have select pieces, exhibits, art camps, and classes at a temporary location at 1000 Village Drive along Route 30 east Greensburg.
“We are truly grateful to our donors, members and friends who, through their gifts of time, talent and funds, have helped bring us to this exciting moment,” explained Judith Hansen O’Toole, director/CEO of the Westmoreland Museum of
“This symbolic gesture of turning over dirt begins the process of building the Future Westmoreland. The next two years will be transformative!” adds O’Toole.
Plans for this extensive project began in 2009 due to a continued growth of the museum’s collections, the need for more educational programs, and a demand for a critically acclaimed exhibitions program. An architectural steering committee led by Westmoreland Trustee Harry A. Thompson II was organized in 2010 and has continued to steer the project since that time. The new design will be user-friendly, welcoming, distinctive, and memorable.
World Class Architectural Design
The architects that have been chosen for the redesign are Ennead Architects of New York City and LaQuatra Bonci Associates: Landscape Architecture of Pittsburgh.
Susan Rodriguez from Ennead Architects brings extensive redesign experience to the project from her work with the Brooklyn Museum and the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Ennead Architects is a 150-person firm with over 35 years of experience. The firm has received 11 AIA National Honor Awards, five of which were for museums. Ennead also has received many national, state, and local awards for design excellence and the museum is looking forward to implementing the new design for the renovation and re-design project.
In addition to the redesign of the building and the grounds, there will be an additional wing and renovation that will classify the building as a LEED silver certification.
Funding for the project will come from a 5-year-campaign that has capital and endowment funds. In total, it is a $38-million campaign with $18 million for capital, $16 million for a new endowment and $4 million for operating cost during the campaign.
What the Future Holds
The Future Westmoreland will have a lot more to offer to the public once the renovation is complete. There will be new galleries, classrooms, studios, and public gathering spaces. The new design will be current with all of the latest technology as well as being more inviting to the community.
The Museum is nationally recognized for its collection of southwestern Pennsylvania art. This collection has grown from one woman’s desire and love of art into a museum that is filled with exquisite authentic American pieces.
The museum began as the Woods Marchand Foundation in 1949, at the bequest of Mary Marchand Woods, a resident of Greensburg devoted to the arts. Mary bequeathed her entire estate in order for the Museum facility to be built, a process that would take a decade.
The mission of the museum is “to enrich a growing public through innovative and collaborative approaches to the collection preservation and presentation of American art.”
Since that time, the Westmoreland Museum of American Art remains the only museum of American art in western Pennsylvania. Collections of work from celebrated American artists include Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, and Louis Comfort Tiffany. The museum is also accredited by the American Association of Museums.
Don’t Let the Renovation Keep You Away
Don’t let the renovation project keep you away from the museum! The temporary location named Westmoreland @rt 30, will open in August 2013. The current exhibition will be at that location as well as the camps and classes. The 30,000 square foot facility that used to be the former Stickley-Audi furniture store between Greensburg and Latrobe enables the museum to keep the art collections on display, keep all the employees together and maintain educational and public programs.
The Pop-Up Exhibition will begin at that location on Wednesday August 7 and run through Thursday April 30, 2015. This exhibit will feature month-long exhibitions of various artists. The schedule for the rest of 2013 includes Brian McCall, Ryan Taylor, and Joe Wos for August, Kristen Kovak for September, Cydra Vaux for October, Wade Kramm for November, and Anna Mikolay for December.