N.C. Museum of Art looks to park to draw new audiences

sbarr@newsobserver.comMarch 18, 2014 

FEATURE02-NE-092413-CCS

CHRIS SEWARD — cseward@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— The North Carolina Museum of Art is looking to its park to draw in new audiences.

The Museum Park’s 164-acre campus already features a system of walking and biking trails and art installations that dot the landscape.

But museum officials are looking to finish the campus and to do so in a way that welcomes audiences to enjoy the museum in both formal and informal ways.

Dan Gottlieb, director of planning and design at the museum, said the goal is to be a destination not just for those already comfortable perusing the galleries but for everyone.

Few museums have as much land as the N.C. Museum of Art, so there’s an unusual opportunity to make the museum more than just its buildings. The land itself is one more work of art the museum intends to celebrate, he said.

As part of the effort, museum officials commissioned Civitas, Inc., a Denver-based urban design group, to develop a strategic plan with steps the museum can take to make better use of the park.

The group said it plans to release a report in July that details potential costs, allowing the museum to beginning raise funds for park development shortly after.

Gottlieb said the museum is looking for ways to make sure the campus is sustainable, not just environmentally but as a social space that the community can enjoy for decades to come.

Museum officials also are part of an effort to improve the Blue Ridge corridor, where it is located.

Gottlieb said the museum and other nearby institutions think the corridor could be a true gateway into Raleigh, and the museum hopes to help lead the way.

“We have not only an opportunity, but we feel an obligation to set a really good standard,” he said.

Mark Johnson, a founding partner at Civitas, said in a news release that the design group will look out over the next century to imagine how the museum should grow.

“The future of art museums depends on connecting to as many communities as possible,” he said.

Barr: 919-836-4952

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