NC Art Museum Expands

Raleigh, NC – In a ceremony attended by Governor Mike Easley and the first lady, the museum Thursday unveiled plans for a low, steel-clad building to display the state's art collection. The new facility will be the centerpiece of a 127-acre landscaped park, including sculpture gardens, environmental projects, and hiking and biking trails.

Under the new plan, the museum's current building shifts to house temporary exhibits and administrative space.

Museum director Lawrence Wheeler says the new building is designed to bring the landscape into the art galleries.

"For so long, art has been displayed in these opaque palaces that become labyrinths of exploring art history, and here we want it to be about beauty and aesthetics and the relationship of the visitor to these exceptional works of art and to these beautiful spaces created by nature."

Wheeler says the new main building will use natural light and large windows to reinvent the art museum experience.

"This will bring art and nature together in a series of wonderful connections. With gardens penetrating the building, gardens adjacent to gallery spaces, an environment in which art and nature are ever present together."

The North Carolina Museum of Art breaks ground in October and expects to open its new facilities in the spring of 2009.