Closed for almost a year while undergoing major renovation and expansion, The Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley announced it will reopen its doors to the public on October 16, 2011.
The $15.4 million expansion and renovation project, designed by the renowned architecture firm Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates (VSBA) and constructed by Alvin H. Butz, Inc., has added 7,900 square feet to the museum and created a modern, warm and welcoming atmosphere for visitors.
In addition to expanded exhibition space, the project included a new entrance through the portico of the 1901 church building; a modernized façade structure that aligns with the original building; much-needed storage space for collections; and a number of visitor amenities, a more spacious gift shop and a new museum café, scheduled to open in winter 2011.
“I am delighted to announce that October 16, 2011, will be the official reopening of the newly expanded Allentown Art Museum,” said President and CEO, Brooks Joyner. “As one of the Lehigh Valley’s cultural crown jewels, we are extremely excited to show the public our beautiful facility. VSBA has given the community a revitalized landmark that integrates the old world grandeur with a modern design.”
The museum’s inaugural exhibition Shared Treasure: The Legacy of Samuel H. Kress celebrates the 50th anniversary of the gifting of the Kress Collection of Early European Art. It features forty (40) key selections from the museum’s permanent collection as well as thirty (30) additional works borrowed from other museums and institutions such as the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the National Gallery of Art.
The Kress Collection owes its origins to a substantial gift of fifty-one works from the collector and philanthropist Samuel H. Kress, which came to the museum in 1960 and 1961. The Kress Collection is the centerpiece of the museum, serving as a unique cultural resource to the region. This group of works features a concise, balanced survey that reflects the spectrum of Renaissance and Baroque art, including a fine selection of Italian, Dutch, Flemish and rare German paintings, as well as works of early European sculpture. Since the initial Kress gift, the museum has supplemented its strength in these areas by acquiring additional works of art, including an impressive selection of seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish paintings. It can be said that the Kress Collection formed the museum’s collecting philosophy, leading it to pursue complementary collections of paintings, decorative arts, works on paper and textiles.
Shared Treasure will run October 16, 2011 – January 15, 2012.