Longview Art Museum begins design work on new facility

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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) – The Longview Museum of Fine Arts is about to have its final designs for its new building. The old downtown bank building, which will become the new museum, has a few surprises in store behind its walls, but the asbestos removal is almost complete.

LMFA Executive Director Tiffany Jehorek explains that there are many steps to designing a museum.

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

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

“We do everything we can to preserve the historic character of the building, which is why we applied to be listed on the National Historic Register. And we were accepted,” Jehorek said.

The teak wood walls will remain, but the office spaces and several walls will disappear, and:

“We are going to manage to preserve this beautiful mosaic counter. It’s 75 feet long, (created) by an abstract artist from Houston,” Jehorek said.

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

“We’re basically putting a wall of glass behind it all the way up to the ceiling and it’s going to 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 she wants the new museum to be world-class.

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

Odom says museum staff and the architect reflected:

“Being able to bring in the light; 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 remain and become a viewing area for the sculpture, as will the round glass outer room that was once the valets’ waiting area. The drive will be pedestrianized and the old windows will become:

“Lighted sculpture boxes,” Jehorek said.

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

Jehorek says that although some preliminary work is underway, it will be the fall before work begins in earnest. The project will not be completed before 2024.

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