The state’s largest art institution is seeking to expand, with a proposal for a mixed-use and commercial project that would help create a cultural hub in downtown Newark.
With a projected budget of $85 million, The Newark Museum of Art‘s Museum Parc would add a 4,000-square-foot art and program gallery to the facility, along with a more visible sculpture garden, new outdoor amenities, renovations to the museum’s education wing, 250 residential units – with 50 affordable housing units – along with retail and dining space.
According to the museum, $80 million for Museum Parc would be funded through a partnership with L+M Development Partners and KSS Architects.
The institution said the project is part of its three-year “Vision Plan” to become the premier arts and culture destination in the region.
“Our goal is to deliver to the city, state and region, a new cultural hub, with The Newark Museum of Art front and center,” said Linda Harrison, the museum’s director and chief executive officer.
L+M is active in the city, including with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s plans for an expanded arts and education district, announced in June. The firm also recently completed work on the mixed-use Walker House and Hahne’s developments, and is currently developing Newark Urby.
The first building at Museum Park will stand six stories and include the project’s first 90 apartment units and the new gallery.
An extension of its existing contemporary galleries, the street-level facility will feature contemporary exhibitions and public programming.
The second building is planned for 12 stories, an additional 160 apartments and 24,000 square feet of retail space.
Amenities are planned for both buildings.
The Museum Parc project is also designed to enhance the museum’s visibility and update currently confusing entryways, so a new street entrance will lead to the Billy Johnson Auditorium. Artworks will be added to The Alice Ranson Dreyfuss Sculpture Garden and updates will make the space more inviting with a more direct entrance. In addition, staff will implement “a more inclusive curatorial strategy.”
A new full-service restaurant, offering sit-down dining and catering, will provide a new revenue stream for the museum.
“As a cultural anchor in the city for over 100 years, I am proud to see the Museum deepen their investment in Newark and further raise the profile of the city as an art and cultural destination where people can live and experience world-class art,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka in a statement. “This proposed project demonstrates the Museum’s commitment to growing their footprint, notable at a time when cultural institutions are scaling back due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”