The Mobile Museum of Art will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2014, and it is indeed fortuitous that the celebration will not only serve as an occasion for reflection on what it has achieved during its first half century, but also as a vehicle to provide additional funding to accomplish the transformation now underway.
Since its founding in 1964, the Museum has established itself as a preeminent facility for the education, enjoyment, and advancement of the arts in Mobile and along the central Gulf Coast. In preparation and celebration of the upcoming 50th Anniversary, MMofA is undergoing an exciting transformation of its institutional identity, practices, performance, and the facility itself.
Our challenge is to raise the funds necessary to improve our Museum and thereby help meet the needs of our changing community and the reach of its influence. We cannot pass up this opportunity, as we approach 50 years, to make our Museum the very best it can be. Inspired by a $500,000 lead gift from the Deepwater Horizon Claims Administration, the Board of Directors has set a total capital campaign goal of $1,000,000 to finance these improvements.
Underwritten by the Promotional Fund grant, the Museum is getting a rebranding “makeover,” including a new logo, upgraded website, new signage, and promotional materials. It also includes an important update to The Museum Store, including the Back Room and Front & Center galleries. The Grand Lakefront Lobby has received a facelift after more than 10 years.
The Museum’s art collection is the most important ingredient to fulfill its mission, although the entire collection cannot be on view at the same time. Consequently, monies from the Deepwater Horizon grant will cover the cost incurred for the design, production and publication of a book showcasing significant works in the collection. This impressive 300-page book will include plates of 200 works from the collection.
Using the grant as a catalyst, the transformation is moving from merely a makeover to a fundraising campaign for capital improvements which will include:
- Removal of much of the existing carpet (now showing more than 10 years of intensive wear and tear) and installation of hardwood floors in all galleries and related public spaces, as well as the Larkins Auditorium
- Conversion of existing space into two new administration offices
- Improvements including the acquisition of designer furniture for the public areas in brands such as Mies van der Rohe, Corbu and Knoll
- Purchase of two-state-of-the art projectors for art video presentations
The culmination of the 50th Anniversary Celebration will be an exhibition of The Art and Design of Mardi Gras. The exhibition will focus on the creative design of art forms unique to our Mardi Gras-loving community. The Art and Design of Mardi Gras will include photographs, prints, costumes, and work created by area artists especially for this exhibition, and loaned from collections of the History Museum of Mobile, the Mobile Carnival Museum, and individuals.
The celebration activities will commence the first weekend in November 2014 with a fund-raising Gala dinner and a weekend family festival featuring The Art and Design of Mardi Gras exhibition, free to the public.