Museum London was handed a $300,000 cheque from London Life Wednesday afternoon–the first piece towards a $3.5 million fundraising goal to help the downtown art museum launch Centre at the Forks, billed as an innovative arts incubator for the city.
“There’s a lot going on at the forks, and we see our Centre at the Forks project as kind of one more piece of that puzzle–one more thing that’s going to make the forks everything it can be and be a real destination for Londoners,” said Museum London Executive Director Brian Meehan.
The centre will “revitalize our look and feel, and create a vibrant new cultural and community gathering place,” Museum London promised.
At a press conference, the museum presented artistic mock-ups of the new space, which will be housed within an expansion to the existing building at the river–putting a fresh face on the Thames-facing side of the building rather than the core-facing side.
The added area will not just be more gallery space, but rather an interactive learning and creating hub for artists and the community at large, Meehan noted in the announcement.
“More and more people are looking for some kind of participatory experience–hands-on, making something as opposed to just seeing,” he said in an interview. “We’re doubling our program space, so we’re creating more space in the museum for those kind of activities to take place.”
For the project, Museum London has tapped London’s Nicholson Sheffield architecture firm, as well as Toronto’s Baird Sampson Neuert.
Construction on the renovation is expected to start by early 2017, according to museum officials. The museum will be looking at various levels of government, as well as community foundations, businesses and individuals to raise the remaining funds required.