Polk Museum of Art announces $6 million expansion and renovation project
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Polk Museum of Art announces $6 million expansion and renovation project
The two-story addition will be located on the northwest side of the present building.

LAKELAND, FLA.- The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College announced plans for a $6 million expansion and renovation of the Museum. The expansion will add more than 10,000 sq. ft. of gallery, classroom, and art laboratory space, more than tripling the Museum’s main gallery space. Construction on the new addition is expected to begin late this year, with a projected completion in the spring of 2024.

“We are elated to build upon the legacy of this impressive museum of fine arts and, through the affiliation of FSC and the Museum, now pursue an expanded agenda to offer exhibitions of our treasured permanent collection and welcome an increasing number of visiting exhibitions from the great museums of the world,” said Dr. Anne B. Kerr, president of Florida Southern College and member of the PMoA Board of Directors. “We are proud to be a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum, and this expansion will also enable additional exhibits from the Smithsonian to be shared with our community and students. This expansion of the Museum will result in a dynamic arts venue that will greatly enrich the cultural offerings in our community.”

The two-story addition will be located on the northwest side of the present building. The sleek design of the expansion will modernize the Museum’s current façade and will add more than 10,000 square feet to the existing 1988 building. The expansion will include much needed new multi-functional exhibition and educational spaces, including galleries to feature artwork from the Museum’s large permanent collection from around the globe.

“We continue to build upon a tremendous legacy here at the Polk Museum of Art,” said Lynda Buck, board chair of the Polk Museum of Art. “These transformational gifts now allow us to make the community’s vision for the PMoA a reality, as we realize the Museum’s enduring mission to enhance lives through inspirational and engaging art experiences for all, from the very young to centenarians. This expansion sets the stage for the Museum’s status as a world-class academic museum, a community institution that serves students and our citizens.”

Along with the modern expansion, plans also include renovating the Museum’s current entrance, replacing flooring throughout the first floor, and updating the second floor galleries, classrooms, and office spaces. These additional changes will also allow the Museum to expand its current collections storage, which houses 2,800 works, as well as create flexible study, archival, and classroom spaces.

“Since the affiliation between the Museum and Florida Southern in 2017, the Museum has aspired to become a top-tier academic and community museum for learners of all ages,” said Dr. H. Alexander Rich, executive director and chief curator of the Museum and chair of Florida Southern College’s Department of Art History and Museum Studies, housed in the Museum. “Now with this exciting expansion, our whole community will benefit. The new spaces will showcase art from across time and cultures, and the Museum can continue to grow as an innovative site for learning for its entire art-loving community, including our students.” In addition to his museum responsibilities, Dr. Rich leads FSC’s Art History and Museum Studies program, one of the only higher education programs operated from a museum, providing college students the opportunity for engaged learning with internships and hands-on learning.

With the new changes, the Polk Museum of Art and Florida Southern College continue their trajectory toward becoming home to one of the nation’s leading academic fine art museums and scholarly centers for the study of the arts and visual culture. The expansion will provide additional hands-on experiences for students, including internships, volunteer opportunities, and pre-professional development programs.

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