Aug. 01--The Minnesota Museum of American Art has taken a big step toward making the Pioneer-Endicott buildings its permanent home. The museum recently signed a 30-year lease for 29,000 square feet on the first floor of the recently renovated historic Pioneer building at Fourth and Robert streets in downtown St. Paul.
"We want to have state-of-the-art exhibition galleries so we can showcase our permanent collection of American art," said Kristin Makholm, MMAA's executive director. Along with the galleries, the new space will include a retail area, education wing, lobby and sculpture court.
After being homeless for a few years, the MMAA opened its 3,500-square-foot Project Space in the Pioneer-Endicott in December 2012. Since then, it has offered a number of exhibitions and arts-related programming there.
The projected opening of the new museum space is summer 2016, with construction beginning next year. Makholm said officials just finished a schematic design with architects from the Minneapolis company VJAA and are figuring out how much money needs to be raised.
"We thought this might be a really good place for us to settle, but it's been confirmed in the last two years that this is an extraordinary location," Makholm said of the Pioneer-Endicott. "It's a great place for us to be, and it helps to energize this part of St. Paul that has historically been a little bit in between places -- Lowertown and the Rice Park area. Its time has come, and we're going to be a central component of that."
According to its website, the Minnesota Museum of American Art has 4,000 works of art in its collection by artists including Paul Manship, George Morrison, Wing Young Huie, Joan Mitchell, Grant Wood, Mark Tobey and Louise Nevelson.
Makholm said she is excited about the museum's future.
"This is the time for the museum to make a big statement again on the cultural landscape of St. Paul," she said. "The galleries and the presence we're going to have in this wonderful historic building are going to make a real impact. It shows we can really embed ourselves in the urban fabric in a really dynamic way. "
Amy Carlson Gustafson can be reached at 651-228-5561. Follow her at twitter.com/amygustafson.
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