When a group of seven Houstonians founded Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
in 1948, the groundwork was established for an institution that was ahead of its timenot just in Texas, but in the entire country. Since the very beginning, CAMHs perspective has been that of an industry leader that inspires and informs both cultural and social change while often offering a first look at the art and artists of tomorrows history booksall while providing free admission for everyone. As one of the oldest, major non-collecting contemporary art museums in the United States, the history of CAMH is one of trailblazing, fearlessness, and resilient passion. As the institution reaches its 70th birthday, these founding principles remain at the heart of the organization. It is with this pioneering spirit that CAMH launches a $3.1 million campaignits first capital campaign in 20 yearsto support a series of critical facility improvements that will make the Museum more accessible, innovative, and impactful within an already inspiring community of peer cultural destinations.
As CAMH attendance has grown tremendously over the past four years, it has become clear that additional space for programming is critical to the continued growth of the Museum. The planned facility improvements include reconfiguring the Eleanor and Frank Freed Garden to expand its capacity as a public gathering space and a venue for programming. CAMH will improve visibility and safety through enhanced signage, landscaping, and the addition of long-needed exterior lighting. Accessibility will dramatically improve with increased parking spaces and critical repairs to the Museum loading dock.
Once completed, these projects will significantly expand the communitys access to CAMHs industry-leading exhibitions and programs, further enhancing the visitor experience, and improving connectivity with peer institutions and with the Museum District as a whole. By contributing to this capital campaign, you are showing your belief and confidence in the importance of what CAMH does for the future of contemporary arts in Houston.
I am honored by the outpouring of support for this exciting project at CAMH, said CAMH Board of Trustee Chair Dillon A. Kyle. It is compelling to bring such critical improvements to the Museum following the 70th anniversary of its inception, and equally important is the way in which these changes will make CAMH more accessible and welcoming as a hub of creative and cultural discovery within the community.
Goal One | Expanding Public Gathering Space
Reconfiguring the Eleanor and Frank Freed Garden for increased potential utilization as a public gathering space and expanded programming such as concerts, film screenings, and public art installations. Other crucial improvements include landscaping and hardscaping that have suffered from foundational shifts.
Goal Two | Adding Visibility
Updating the Museums external lighting to increase visibility, encourage evening visitation, and be consistent with the lighting of neighboring institutions. CAMH shares operational hours with many other institutions in the surrounding Museum District to allow the public to maximize a single visit to the region. Without proper lighting, CAMH often appears closed when actually open during evening hours.
Goal Three | Stabilizing Key Infrastructure
Stabilizing and renovating the Museum loading dock is a critical intervention to ensure maximum utilization, the safety of CAMH staff and art, as well as the continued use of offices that reside below the loading dock. This project involves core sampling, engineer analysis, and reinforcement.
Goal Four | Clarifying Signage
Updating CAMHs permanent exterior signage to increase clarity and visibility while providing visitors with the most updated information.
Goal Five | Supporting the Mission
After 22 years working in the same administrative footprint, CAMHs relocation to renovated offices in a nearby, offsite location provides greater functionality and square footage. CAMH will establish newly-configured office spaces that support the Museums intellectual, creative, and operational capacity. Demolition of the current administrative offices provides space for a much-needed parking area which will increase accessibility for CAMH visitors.