The Columbus Museum of Art celebrates an anniversary Thursday. It’s been a year since the Margaret Walter Wing opened to the public.
Museum executive director Nanette Maciejunes says the new addition has been a fabulous success.
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Sam Hendren: The Columbus Museum of Art celebrates an anniversary today. It's been a year since the Margaret Walter Wing opened to the public. Museum executive director Nanette Maciejunes says the addition has been a big success.
Nanette Maciejunes: The Walter Wing not only has new gallery space for collections but it has a new space for traveling exhibitions or specially organized special, you know, exhibitions. It also has a completely new welcoming lobby with all the visitor services you would when you come to a museum.
We have a new store, we have a new cafe, Schokko, our new restaurant cafe. So it has all these things and we also, as part of this renovation, the museum we've got a lot of great behind the scenes infrastructure things that we really need that enable us to bring you all the great things that you see in our public spaces.
Sam Hendren: It's 50,000 square feet. How much additional square footage did it add to the museum?
Nanette Macijunes: Well we had 88,000 square feet before this and then we added 50,000. But when people come, they say it seems bigger than that. And that's because the renovation was, we really touched every square inch of our property.
We renovated our historic building, the Roth Building - that's our 1931 building. We reconfigured the 1970 building. And so when you come in you really experience a completely new museum. It's a very different experience; people are like, it seems even bigger. But it is, we added 50,000 square feet onto an 88,000 original square foot footprint.
Sam Hendren: How will you celebrate?
Nanette Macijunes: We're having all day kind of drop-in activities for anyone, for all visitors, for the whole community. I mean I think one of the things that really was exciting about this for us was the embrace by the community. We had 368,000 visitors our first year here. I mean that's the number that we're able to let everyone know, that a huge number of people.
We won so many important awards in our community. We were the winner of the Columbus Foundation Award this year, we also got the GCAC - what used to be called the Artistic Excellence Award is now called Columbus Makes Art award. We have a thousand preschoolers this year. We were able to increase our membership by 40 percent, so every measurable sort of metric I think the community has embraced the museum.
And so we just thought we'd have a great day of pop-up art-making, Transit Arts is going to celebrate with us tomorrow. They're going to come in for performances. There's tours, there's yoga in the galleries, and we're ending the day with a great conversation with our beloved former mayor, Mayor Coleman. Mike Coleman is going to do a great conversation inspired by Aminah Robinson's Presidential Suite that will be about the historic presidency of President Obama. So it's going to be a great day.
Sam Hendren: Nanette Macijunes is executive director of the Columbus Museum of Art.