St. Louis’ Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts will undergo a major expansion to increase its square footage by one-third.
The renovation of the Pulitzer's 3,600-square-foot basement into useable space will begin late this summer, in collaboration with building architect Tadao Ando. The idea has been under discussion for some time, according to Pulitzer director Kristina Van Dyke. But the talk became more serious around the time of the institution’s January “Reset” series, a week of alternative activities including a drag show, hip-hop and fort-building.
“We needed a six-month period to do it and we saw one looming on the horizon and we decided to go for it,” Van Dyke told St. Louis Public Radio.
New Possibilities, New Name
The Pulitzer will begin announcing specific exhibitions and public activities for the new space this summer. Broadly, Van Dyke said the area will be used for gallery showings, workshops and film screenings.
“Right now we can’t show films in a way that compliments the medium because, of course, the light levels,” Van Dyke said.
The basement will also open up possibilities for art displays now prohibited by the building’s exposure to light, such as works on paper.
“With this lower space we can show things that are light-sensitive or that are very much driven by new media,” Van Dyke said.
The expansion will also make it possible for the Pulitzer to run exhibitions and activities such as “Reset” concurrently, rather than offering alternative programming only when there’s a gap between shows.
As planned, the Pulitzer will open its five-day “Marfa Dialogues/St. Louis” exhibition, exploring the intersection of art and climate change, on July 30. In August, the institution will close its current exhibition, “Art of Its Own Making.” The doors will occasionally remain open through early October to accommodate participants in the PXSTL project in the lot across from the Pulitzer.
The foundation will reopen in May 2015, offering more days and expanded hours.
It’s the first significant alteration to the of building, which currently has 6,800 square feet of useable space, since it opened in 2001. Van Dyke declined to say how much the project will cost. She said it will use no public funds.
The basement is currently used for storage and was once home to the Pulitzer’s offices. After the renovation, storage items and offices will all be located in another building across the street.
Another change in the works is the institution’s name. Beginning today, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts will be known as the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, to better emphasize its focus on the arts.
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