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Wadsworth Atheneum Continues Renovations

$2 million from the state will help pay for interior changes

By Jeff Cohen

June 11, 2012

The state recently approved $2 million for the renovation of Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneum -- the nation's first public art museum. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the money will go in part to gallery renovations.

The first phase of renovations at the Wadsworth was largely paid for by the state and began in 2010. That phase was more about infrastructure than it was about art -- the museum's various buildings leaked water when it rained, meaning a lot of the museum's gallery spaces had to be closed. Now, $16 million later, that problem has been solved. Susan Talbott is the museum's director.

"It is no longer raining inside the museum. There are no puddles on the floor. There are dry galleries waiting to be renovated."

To make those renovations and other changes, the museum will need more than $12 million. Including the $2 million just approved by Governor Dannel Malloy and the state's bond commission, the Wadsworth has about $4.5 million in the bank. Talbot says they'll be renovating spaces that were open to the public but in need of repair, and spaces that have been close to the public. In total, about 70,000 square feet will be affected by the renovation. That translates into 54 galleries and 20 public spaces.

The process now is to figure out what art from the permanent collection will go where.

"If it's going to be baroque art, we might not want to have the same kind of flooring and the same kind of lighting as we would have for contemporary art, because they demand different kinds of treatments."

Once that planning is done, work will begin with the money the museum has on hand and fundraising will continue for the rest. The renovation is slated to be done in 2014.

For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.

Reprinted with permission of Jeff Cohen, author of the blog Capital Region Report. To view other stories on this topic, search Capital Region Report at http://capitalregionreport.wordpress.com/.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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