A ceremonial groundbreaking and press conference was held on June 30, 2016, marking the beginning of an 18-month expansion project. Construction will bookend both the east and west sides of the existing building.
In 2005 and 2006, architects Frederick Fisher and Partners from Los Angeles planned and completed an extensive, phased $20 million renovation and expansion of the FIA. Just four years ago they returned to design the addition of a welding lab and new kiln room on the Art School. To continue their practical design aesthetic, the architects have once again developed a beautiful, functional and cohesive plan.
On the east side, an 8,565 sq. ft. addition is being added to the permanent collection galleries creating the Contemporary Craft Wing. The wing will contain three distinct expansive galleries specifically designed for presentations of three dimensional works of art. High ceilings, with skylights will present a serene atmosphere and sophisticated backdrop for display of objects. Additional curatorial amenities include a large freight elevator providing access to a 5,900 sq. ft. lower level designed for art handling, preparation, crate storage, and a climatized vault.
On the west side, the existing 3,960 sq. ft. Art School exterior courtyard is being converted into a year round “Makerspace.” This flexible space equipped with retractable stadium style seating will provide many options for public demonstrations, workshops, classes, and more. The primary focus will be the hot glass-making studio space equipped with furnaces, annealing ovens, and an adjacent cold shop for finishing. The space will also accommodate a metal foundry for casting bronze and aluminum. During demonstrations, electronic equipment designed specifically for the space will provide audiences with audio narration and enhanced views on large mounted screens.Fuel the Fire & Keep the Flame Burning
Major equipment purchases remain unfunded including glass furnaces, annealing ovens, elevator, retractable seating, studio furniture audio/video equipment and gallery lighting. The FIA is seeking an additional $1 million for equipment and $4 million of endowment to support the expanded operation.