Longview Museum of Fine Arts debuts design work for new facility

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Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 12:09 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2022 at 9:57 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - The Longview Museum of Fine Arts is very close to having its final designs for their new building. The old bank building downtown, which will become the new museum, had a few surprises behind its walls, but asbestos abatement is nearly complete.

LMFA Executive Director Tiffany Jehorek says there are many baby steps when it comes to designing a museum.

“We spent the last, I guess, year, working on plans for the building. It’s no small task to turn a bank into a world-class premier art museum,” Jehorek said.

There will be some drastic changes, but some things will remain the same.

“We are doing everything we can to preserve the historic character of the building, which is why we applied to be on the National Historic Register. And we’ve been accepted,” Jehorek said.

The teak wood walls will stay, but the office spaces and several walls will go, and:

“We are going to get to preserve that beautiful mosaic counter. It’s 75 feet long, (created) by a Houston abstract artist,” Jehorek said.

Tiffany says although there is plenty of space for two large galleries on the main floor, there just isn’t much storage space for the museum’s permanent collection, so they thought about that long counter.

“We’re basically putting a glass wall behind it all the way up to the ceiling and that will be called a visible art vault,” Jehorek said.

It will be storage and display at the same time. LMFA Director of Design and Development Stacy Odom says they want the new museum to be world class.

“There’s only about five to ten museums in the world that have a visual vault,” Odom said.

Odom says museum staff and the architect brainstormed:

“To be able to bring light in; natural light, which is good for art and good for mental well-being,” Odom said.

They say there will be light. The main vault will stay and become a viewing area for sculpture, as will the round glass outdoor room that was once the valet waiting area. The drive through will be for pedestrians, and the old teller windows will become:

“Lit sculpture boxes,” Jehorek said.

So, there are spaces it seems for everything in the old bank building.

Jehorek says although some preliminary work is being done, it will be fall before work begins in earnest. The project won’t be complete until 2024.

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