VMFA announces $190 million expansion project to begin in 2023

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts announced a new “transformative” expansion is coming to the museum and it will include more than 100,000 square feet of new gallery and exhibition space.

VMFA announced the $190 million expansion and renovation project on Tuesday. The announcement said it is “to prepare for the next generation of museum visitors.” The expansion will be guided by the museum’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan and will include ‘state-of-the-art’ gallery spaces for African art, photography and 21st-century art.

Other new features will include:

  • Dining facilities than can seat up to 500 guests,
  • A new entrance to and from the sculpture garden,
  • Increased facilities for art storage,
  • New education classrooms,
  • Transforming the library into the Frank Raysor Center for the Study of Works on Paper,
  • Upgrades to the Leslie Cheek Theater, Evans Court and 1936 entrance,
  • A new stand-alone Collections Center building, which will house art storage and the museum’s conservation department.

The VMFA said this is it’s fifth expansion project since the museum opened in 1936.

The expansion will be led by SmithGroup, an international architecture firm. The SmithGroup has helped design other major museum projects, such as the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

“We are thrilled to have SmithGroup on board and excited to collaborate with their visionary team on this exciting building project,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “The firm has demonstrated expertise in planning and designing dynamic, engaging museum environments.”

The project is slated to begin with a discovery and design phase that is expected to last 24 months before construction begins in Summer 2023.

The wing is tentatively slated for completion by the summer of 2025.

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