Tacoma Art Museum’s new Benaroya Wing to host opening celebration Jan. 19

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Tacoma Art Museum’s Benaroya vista gallery, along with the new Benaroya Gallery, will be unveiled to the public Jan. 19. The vista gallery will become TAM’s interface with Tacoma’s urban landscape. Photo by Benjamin Benschneider
Tacoma Art Museum’s Benaroya vista gallery, along with the new Benaroya Gallery, will be unveiled to the public Jan. 19. The vista gallery will become TAM’s interface with Tacoma’s urban landscape. Photo by Benjamin Benschneider

The newest addition to flank the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) is the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Wing, a 6,595-square-foot expansion to showcase the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection gift. 

The wing opens to the public on Jan. 19. Led by Design Principal Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA, and Principal Kirsten R. Murray, FAIA, the design of the Benaroya Wing balances opacity and transparency providing symmetry with the recent TAM addition of the Haub Family Galleries, also designed by Olson Kundig. The addition strengthens the visual connection between TAM and the city by activating the north end of the museum and offering a new platform for visitors to observe the urban context from the galleries.

“With the new Benaroya Wing, I’m most excited about the opportunity to break down traditional thresholds between the museum and the public. The new vista gallery is designed to entice people inside to view the Benaroya Collection by offering a peek-a-boo or a look into what’s happening inside the museum,” says Kundig.

The addition includes 4,800 square feet of new gallery space, which will contain works from TAM’s permanent collection, including the Benaroya Collection. Because the Benaroya Collection was originally a privately held collection, Olson Kundig and TAM identified key design strategies around a sensitivity to scale, lighting and protection of the art. The resulting design translates this private collection to a civic-scaled public exhibition forum. The galleries include exquisitely designed modular casework and moveable temporary walls that allow curators to present the collection in multiple ways.

In addition to an expanded collection, the Benaroya Wing allows TAM to offer more visibility to the community. At the far end of the new wing is the vista gallery, which contains a 46-foot-wide window wall projecting six feet out from the building’s face. 

“The Benaroya Wing is an evolution of the original museum design – it is intended to be an extension of the larger museum building, but add a new level of transparency and viewability to continue the Tacoma Art Museum’s longstanding goal of deepening their engagement with the city,” stated Murray.

This window wall overlooks the Prairie Line Trail’s urban context of the city and beyond, including public art, pedestrian walkways, and bike paths. “As we work to make TAM more inviting to all our communities, this new wing is a visual expression of our philosophy of inviting everybody into the museum,” says TAM Executive Director David F. Setford. “It is an incredibly beautiful and adaptable space which will allow us full reign to showcase glass to the very highest standards.” A new illuminated beacon for the museum, the Benaroya Wing draws the eye and creates a new point of connection between TAM, its collections and the community of Tacoma it serves.

Saturday Jan. 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is the grand opening of the new Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Wing marked with dance performances by Kate O’Day, opportunities to experiment with fused glass and printmaking processes led by Hilltop Artists, listen to original poetry readings and jazz music by genre-bending band 322, artist talk by award-winning curator, historian, appraiser and editor of Glass Magazine William Warmus, who will speak about the history of glass. All activities of the day are inspired by the works of art in the opening exhibitions. 

For in-depth information on the new wing and related programming, visit http://bit.ly/Benaroya.

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