Museum woos visitors with new paint job, highlights from library collection

By NATALIE SHERMAN
NEW BEDFORD — A newly renovated New Bedford Art Museum opened last week, with a polished vinyl floor and striking, multi-color walls that the directors hope will allow them to display more 3-D exhibits more frequently, increasing foot traffic to the museum.
“It’s about the future of New Bedford and about bringing people in and really showcasing the art we have,” Museum Executive Director Kate Ross said at Tuesday night’s official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the room’s new City Gallery.
“We’re really going to create some energy in this place.”
The City Gallery will be reserved for shows that draw from the library’s more than 1,600-piece collection.
The current exhibit includes a “Great Blue Heron” from the iconic John James Audubon “Birds of America” series and three paintings that used to be in storage, said Janice Hodgson, the library’s art curator.
“There’s a real improvement here that speaks for itself,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell, whose office helped with the renovations. “We’re very proud of the city’s collection — so proud that as a prosecutor that prosecuted art theft cases, I don’t want to talk about it too loudly.”
The museum will also dedicate part of the room to showing — and selling — works from regional artists, said museum curator Seth Rainville.
The basement of the building, which held the vault when the Pleasant Street property operated as a bank, will open April 5 as a children’s room, so that the museum can expand its educational programs, Rainville said.
nsherman@s-t.com
April 01, 2012 12:00 AM
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