Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Orlando Museum of Art announces plan to move out of Loch Haven Park

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 3:09 PM

  • photo by Christopher Keith Garcia

At a press conference today, OMA director and CEO Glen Gentele and Ted Brown, chairman of the OMA's Strategic Planning Committee, announced plans to seek a new "container" for the museum's collections. 

Today marked the release of "Forward to 100: Reimagining the Orlando Museum of Art in the 21st Century," the final conclusions of the Board of Trustees' yearlong strategic planning study. Gentele called "Forward to 100" a "vision plan with strategic initiatives."

Perhaps the most surprising detail of the report was its conclusion that Loch Haven Park was "not viewed as the ideal location for the future of Orlando Museum of Art."

Brown revealed plans to seek space in Orlando's "urban core," i.e. downtown, noting that of 65 million annual visitors to Orlando, an almost statistically negligible number visit the museum. The board feels that as public transit options improve and as the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts becomes more established, Orlando's downtown is the best place to develop a cultural district.

"All great cities have great art museums and we are working in that direction. But relationally, what is around the museum is important," said Gentele. Brown later added, "What we want is an internationally recognized architectural wonder in Orlando."

The museum hopes to increase from its current 19,000 square feet of gallery space to 45,000-50,000 square feet of usable exhibition space, as well as more parking, larger educational facilities, more space for collection vaults and fabrication, a bar and café, a glass-blowing school and "a five-star restaurant experience."

Both Gentele and Brown stressed that this announcement marked the commencement of a yearlong feasibility study, and that within a year they hoped to have a solid plan for what would probably be a 10-year process. Addressing the question of why they would announce their intentions so far ahead of time, Brown said that "the only way to be held accountable to your vision is to tell people your vision … and we want to be accountable."

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