Imagining More at SBMA

11 Nov 2015 2:07 PM | Anonymous

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is ready to imagine more. An extensive and critical renovation will begin on Saturday, November 15 as SBMA breaks ground at a public ceremony. The “Imagine More” capital campaign will fund a new gallery and community spaces and improved layout and access to the galleries, as well as the resolution of critical needs such as structural and seismic reinforcement, replacement of roofs and climate control system, and the upgrade of other major systems. 

At the free open house ceremony, to be held from 6-8pm at the museum, special guests will be on hand to aid with the wallbreaking around 6:15, as will architectural and museum staff. Attendees can enjoy refreshments, art-making activities and free gallery admission while learning more about the project and viewing computer-generated images of the final space. 

SBMA has already received approval from the Planning Commission and the Historic Landmarks Association but is awaiting final building permits from the city to begin the first phase of construction. The renovation will begin in the McCormick Wing, a 100-year-old building that was once the Post Office. In 1941, a new wing was added to the existing building but, to save time and money at the expense of structural integrity, this relatively newer wing consists of only three walls tacked onto the original building. 

Because of this, the building requires structural reinforcement and extensive seismic retrofitting. A fourth wall made of 12”-thick steel-reinforced concrete will be added and the existing walls will be reinforced with rebar and concrete, a process that will essentially construct new walls within the old ones. This first stage should take about 18 months to complete.

To prepare for the renovations, the Asian Art Galleries on the upper level and the antiquities collections in Ludington Court have been taken down over the past few weeks to protect the art. Much of the ancient artwork from Ludington Court will be loaned to the J. Paul Getty Museum during the project for restoration and eventual display at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa

Meanwhile, the empty space makes a prime canvas for the current Cayetano Ferrer exhibit, which displays fragments of antique columns and other architectural elements in the museum’s storage that can rarely be shown in the galleries. These pieces complement Ferrer’s Remnant Recomposition, a sprawling floor piece made with scraps of various casino carpets.

To compensate for intermittent gallery closings during the ongoing renovation project, the museum will at times offer free admission. To see a schedule of gallery closings or RSVP for the wallbreaking, please visit SBMA online.

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