Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Asheville Art Museum receives NEA "Art Works" grant

The Asheville Art Museum is honored to be one of 886 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive a National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant, announced last week by NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa. The Museum is recommended for a $35,000 grant to support the planned major renovation and expansion project to create the new Asheville Art Museum.

Since its founding by area artists 66 years ago, the Asheville Art Museum has been defined by its close ties to the community and its receptiveness to the area’s needs. Since then, as Asheville and Western North Carolina have grown, so has the Museum. The Museum has expanded five times in its history to serve growing demand from community partners, members, visitors, educators, students and artists, and in response to the needs of housing and showcasing a growing permanent collection, a unique cultural resource for our region.

The planned major expansion and renovation project to create the new Asheville Art Museum is the next exciting step. Utilizing the current building footprint of the Museum, this environmentally friendly project calls for the historic preservation of the Museum’s North Wing (the 1926 Pack Library Building), renovation of existing Museum spaces and new construction to transform current disparate spaces into a new cohesive, coherent Museum.

A visually stunning new glass entrance will provide a 21st century architectural landmark in downtown Asheville. The project will result in new exhibition galleries, collection and conservation facilities, a well-equipped education suite of classrooms and studios, a larger library and the addition of a rooftop sculpture terrace and cafĂ©. The exterior will be sheathed in glass inviting the public in to art-filled spaces and lighted at night to illuminate Pack Square Park and the City center. The overall design dramatically transforms the Museum’s identity and establishes a vital new cultural center and arts destination in the city and the region.

NEA Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, “The NEA is pleased to announce that the Asheville Art Museum is recommended for an NEA Art Works grant. These NEA-supported projects will not only have a positive impact on local economies, but will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the arts, help our communities to become more vibrant, and support our nation’s artists as they contribute to our cultural landscape.”

The Asheville Art Museum’s Executive Director Pamela Myers said, “The Museum is honored to receive this prestigious award from the NEA in recognition of the design excellence of the new Museum and of the need for an expanded Museum to better serve our community as a vibrant center for inspiration and education and an economic engine driving the city and region’s continued growth.”

Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts.  The NEA received 1,515 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $76 million in funding. Of those applications, 886 are recommended for grants for a total of $25.8 million.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov.

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