LONGVIEW, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) - Longview Museum of Fine Arts Board of Directors and LMFA Executive Director, Tiffany Jehorek, are proud to announce the museum will occupy a new home in the summer of 2022! On Thursday, February 25, LMFA closed on the purchase of the former Longview National Bank and Regions Bank building at the corner of N. Fredonia and Methvin streets.
“This journey started nine months ago, and we are so excited for this day to have finally arrived,” said Jehorek. “Two things had to happen before LMFA could commit to purchasing the building: secure a buyer for our present location and secure a lead gift. The stars aligned – a Texas foundation stepped forward with a major lead gift and the museum’s neighbor, VeraBank, agreed to purchase our building. The faith and commitment from these two entities says volumes about what this move will mean for downtown Longview’s redevelopment and vitality and the museum’s role in creating that synergy.”
The move to the iconic Mid-Century modern white marble building designed in 1960 by Wilson, Morris, Crain, and Anderson Architects who are known for designing the Astrodome in Houston, will increase the museum’s footprint from 16,500 square feet to 44,000 square feet. This new location complete with a parking garage will sit at the heart of our community’s cultural district and create essential new spaces for the public to experience art, educational programs, and performances. The sheer size and statuesque beauty of the building, in addition to its central location across from the courthouse, will generate tourism, community pride and involvement, and serve as a dynamic centralized hub for the arts of East Texas.
The building features in the main lobby “The Great Lone Star,” a gold, aluminum, and stainless-steel wire sculpture by world-renowned artist Richard Lippold. A similar sculpture was installed at the Lincoln Center in New York City around the same time. The star was purchased by architect B.W. Crain, Jr. in 1957 for $15,000 and was recently conservatively appraised at $175,000; it will become a hallmark for LMFA and a calling card for Longview. The 70-foot mosaic counter designed by now deceased Houston artist; Herbert Mears appraised for $145,000. LMFA is grateful to the Roger Johnson Family for donating these two works of art to the museum.
“The board is thrilled about this moment in the museum’s history and what this bold move means for Longview,” said Jennifer Ware, LMFA Board President “This new location will raise the profile of the museum in the community as well as across the state, allowing LMFA to fulfill its mission to enrich lives and ignite a passion for the arts.”
LMFA proposes to renovate and restore the first floor, while continuing to lease the second floor to other businesses and non-profit organizations. The first floor encompasses the main lobby and the original 1940s Longview National Bank lobby, and will house the museum’s gallery space, administrative offices, vault, art preparation and conservation area. The basement level will house the ArtWorks Creative Learning Center, meeting spaces, auditorium, storage, and artist studio spaces. The museum hopes to transform some of the outdoor space into a café/gift shop for pedestrian traffic, building tenants and museum guests.
“The dedication of many is needed to make these grand ambitions a reality, and our success to date has come from devoted patrons and community leaders. The Junior League of Longview had a vision in 1958 to create an art museum for Longview. The Board and I are so proud to bring their vision and dream to this next grand level. Currently, the Museum has raised 38% of the estimated five-million goal needed to complete the vision.” said Jehorek. “We are grateful for their support and invite anyone interested in learning more about this project to contact the museum. It takes our entire community working together to nurture our vibrant culture and uphold Longview as a home that fosters beauty, creativity and the arts.”
The museum collects paintings, woodcuts, photography, works on paper, sculpture, lithographs, serigraphs, aboriginal art, and metalwork. The focus of the collection is centered on early Texas art from the 1930s - 1970s which includes many Dallas Nine and Fort Worth Circle artists. However, the museum’s collecting philosophy makes room for consideration of all culturally and historically significant works from the 19th century to the present.
LMFA is currently located in downtown Longview, at 215. E. Tyler Street. Hours are Tuesday-Friday 10am-4pm, Saturday 10am-2pm. Admission is free for members and $5 for non-members “From the vault – selections from the permanent collection” is now on display through February 27 – Longview Museum of Fine Arts hosts in person and virtual tours for groups and schools upon request. For more information on membership, exhibits, and events, visit us at lmfa.org.