Museum Expansion Gets CFGNB Boost

Community Foundation of Greater New Britain Approves Major Gift to New Britain Museum of American Art

$250,000 Grant Brings Museum Expansion One Step Closer to Reality


New Britain, Conn. (April 3, 2014)
– The Community Foundation of Greater New Britain has approved a major grant of $250,000 to the New Britain Museum of American Art, one of the final pieces of the Museum’s ongoing Capital Campaign for a 17,364-square-foot expansion scheduled to break ground this spring.

“The Community Foundation has been a partner with and supporter of the New Britain Museum of American Art for decades, and we are thrilled to play an important role in making this latest expansion a reality,” said Jim Williamson, president of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain. “There is no finer or more significant cultural or community asset in Greater New Britain than the Museum, and we fully support its long-range vision of continued community service, growth and relevance.”

The $10.2 million expansion is part of the Lexington Street Museum’s $21.2 million Capital Campaign which will not only fund the additional space, but will also allow for the purchase of contiguous property, construction of 80 additional parking spaces and endowment growth. Museum Director Douglas Hyland said that the Campaign has gone well with $14.3 million in gifts and pledges in hand.

“The Community Foundation and the Museum share the same vision of making our community a vibrant place in which to live, work and visit,” said Hyland. “We are grateful as always for the Foundation’s generous support.”

A groundbreaking scheduled for Monday, May 12 at 11 a.m. has been set, added Hyland.

Since the Museum’s last expansion seven years ago with the opening of the Chase Family Building and renovated Landers House, attendance has hit an all-time high – some 100,000 visitors per year – and membership has doubled. The expansion will increase museum capacity by:

• Nearly tripling educational programming space to allow for multiple programs to take place at the same time;
• Adding nearly 8,000 square feet of new gallery space to be used for exhibitions, tours and programming;
• Increasing the size of its current Landers House ArtLab – a popular family destination – by 40 percent, allowing for larger art creation and library/reading spaces targeted to families, including those with toddlers and pre-K children.

Founded in 1903, the New Britain Museum of American Art is renowned as the first museum of strictly American art in the country. The Museum’s collection includes more than 11,000 examples, including works representing colonial portraiture, the Hudson River School, American Impressionism, and the Ash Can School. Its mural series, The Arts of Life in America by Thomas Hart Benton, is one of its signature works.

The museum relies heavily on its permanent collection for exhibitions and programming, yet also displays a significant number of borrowed shows and work by emerging artists. Its singular focus on American art and its panoramic view of American artistic achievement make the New Britain Museum of American Art a significant teaching resource available to the local, regional, and national public.

Established in 1941, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain connects donors who care with causes that matter in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. It does this by raising resources and developing partnerships that make a measurable improvement in the quality of life in each of these communities. For more information, visit www.cfgnb.org.