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Joslyn Art Museum announces expansion

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OMAHA, Neb. — Joslyn Art Museum announced today that it has selected Snøhetta to lead an expansion that will be transformative for the museum, the city of Omaha and Nebraska.

Central to the architecture and landscape design project is a new building that will complement and enhance Joslyn’s original 1931 Memorial Building and 1994 Walter and Suzanne Scott Pavilion addition, designed by Sir Norman Foster. Introducing a new Joslyn for the 21st century, the expansion will add new galleries to showcase more art in an architecturally inspiring space; support greater breadth and depth of public programming and art education opportunities offered by Joslyn; and create an environment that heightens the museum experience and exceeds visitors’ expectations.

A selection committee comprising Joslyn staff and Omaha community leaders conducted an expansive search for an architect with multiple international firms in line for the project. With an impressive résumé of completed work around the globe, its stunning designs informed by human interaction and a multi-disciplinary approach, and its dedication to sustainability, Snøhetta was the committee’s unanimous choice.

The 30-year-old firm, under founding partner Craig Dykers, began its career with the revival of the ancient library of Alexandria, Egypt. This was later followed by the commission for the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, and the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York City, among many others. Recently completed works include the redesign of the public space in Times Square, the Lascaux IV Caves Museum in Montignac, France and the highly-acclaimed expansion to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Joslyn Art Museum executive director and CEO Jack Becker noted the significance of the selection of Snøhetta related not only to the future of Joslyn, but also to its storied past. “The museum is one of Nebraska’s greatest assets, and this project will allow it to be and do more … show more art, welcome more people, elevate the Museum visitor experience, offer many more teaching moments,” Becker said. “This physical and programmatic expansion will happen with the utmost care and respect for the two remarkable and beloved buildings that presently comprise Joslyn. Snøhetta is an outstanding firm, and a perfect fit for this project, not only for their visionary design, but also for their commitment to honoring the legacy of the museum and celebrating what Joslyn means to us, to our city and to Nebraska.”

Highlights of Joslyn Art Museum expansion

New galleries will allow Joslyn to meet the demands and explore the possibilities of a growing permanent collection, including the gift of 50 works from the nationally-renowned Phillip G. Schrager Collection of Contemporary Art, announced in June 2016. The Schrager gift is the single most important gift of art to Joslyn Art Museum since its founding days, and one that instantly propels the museum to a new position on the international museum stage.

Additional gallery space will also increase flexibility in existing buildings for showcasing works previously not on view due to space constraints. Examples include selections from the museum’s expansive collection of works on paper as well as Joslyn’s historic and contemporary Indigenous collections, which will soon be reinvigorated by a curator of Native American art, a position newly funded by The Andrew W. Mellow Foundation.

A group of 10 or more adults can experience the museum with a private docent-guided tour of an an area of the permanent collection or special exhibition of its choice. The fee is based on the size of the group.

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