By Maureen Knoll
At the Sept. 22 meeting, members and guests heard inside information, including news not yet revealed to the public, and two members won a drawing for beautiful books about the museum’s collection.
Speaker Jennifer Northrop, with SFMOMA for just 4 months, was recruited from the Cooper-Hewitt in New York City after successfully rolling out communications for that museum’s reopening following a three-year renovation. She was attracted to this job because SFMOMA has a distinguished history that includes its status as the first museum on the West Coast devoted solely to 20th century art and a world renowned tradition of collecting and showing photographs since 1935.
When the completely expanded museum opens in spring 2016 (date to be announced in October), it will offer an entire floor devoted to photography among its 7 floors and 235,000 square feet of exhibition space. In an effort to bring more natural light into the lobby from the skylight at the top, the staircase has been removed and a shorter one will take visitors from the ground floor to the 2nd level for museum admission. The ground floor lobby will be accessible free to the public and will showcase rotating as well as permanent artworks.
In an effort to expand its accessibility, the museum will provide free admission to people 18 and under, an offering that is permanently endowed, though Northrop could not yet reveal the benefactor. In addition to expanded galleries, the museum will offer new spaces for performance art.
Northrop’s communications strategy calls this a “rollout,” not a museum reopening, since the project represents what she calls a “complete transformation.” The initial plan calls for a focus on the building itself, with other themes, such as sustainability, and new amenities, such as three venues for food and drink, to be explored closer to opening day.
Ad agency Chemistry Club is working on a new ad campaign featuring the museum’s new accessibility to build awareness for the international and national markets as well as the Bay Area. People outside the Bay Area represent 50% of the museum’s visitors, so SFMOMA is working closely with PRRT member Laurie Armstrong at the San Francisco Travel Association on ways to get the word out to people who want to include a visit to SFMOMA in their travel plans.
Besides insider news on the museum expansion, two lucky members in attendance, Amy Weitz and Brenda Kahn, won copies of the coffee table book From Calder to Warhol: Introducing the Fisher Collection.