Butler Art Museum to be oversized | News, Sports, Jobs

This architectural drawing shows the new 3,810 square foot expansion of the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown. A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the museum on Thursday to herald the expansion. … Submitted photo

YOUNGSTOWN – The Butler Institute of American Art collection has grown steadily over the years, and soon the nationally acclaimed museum will have another important area of ​​growth: additional space.

“The whole idea is to create an expanded space where we can accommodate very large works,” said Louis A. Zona, Butler’s general manager.

Zona referred to a $2.3 million, 3,810-square-foot expansion of the museum. That was the thrust behind Thursday morning’s groundbreaking ceremony and program at the Butler, 524 Wick Ave.

The new section will be the Vincent and Phyllis Bacon Wing, named after the Canfields, who donated a gift of about $1 million to the project.

The three-story, glass-fronted building will face Wick Avenue, allowing certain artworks to be easily viewed from the outside. Work is expected to be complete in October, and the new wing could open by the end of the year, said Wendy Swick, the museum’s public relations director.

The butler has about 22,000 works of art, including prints and ceramics, in his permanent collection, Zona noted. The extra space is essential for very large artworks, including some by Paul Jenkins, a major American abstract expressionist painter who lived in New York City, he explained.

Additionally, the 102-year-old museum has about 98 works from the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based David W. Bermant Foundation, Zona noted.

The late Bermant, an Army veteran who also built shopping malls, was a longtime art collector who favored kinetic pieces that depict “movement or perceived movement,” the director added.

Some of the pieces from the Bermant collection will need the new space to be stored and displayed, Zona continued.

The three-story wing will have storage and a vaulted ceiling in the basement, a gallery space on the second level, and a Grand Gallery exhibition area on the ground floor with a 22- or 23-foot ceiling to accommodate unusually large pieces of art, including one that is approximately It’s 15 feet tall, noted C. Robert Buchanan, the project’s chief architect.

In his comments on Thursday, Buchanan added that in 2018 he and Zona considered six possible locations for the expansion before settling on the current location.

A key meaning of the Grand Gallery is that it will “enable a dramatic display of large-scale artworks that we have not previously had the opportunity or space to display,” Zona said in a statement.

“This institution has brought so much to the community over the years. We’ve always had an interest in art,” said Vincent Bacon, secretary to Butler’s board of directors and longtime patron, citing a key reason for the gift.

The addition may also further deepen the connection between the Butler and Youngstown State University by potentially attracting more students and faculty, Phyllis Bacon added.

Boardman-based Davis International Inc. is acting as the contractor.

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