The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College’s newest expansion celebrated the groundbreaking on a historic $6 million expansion and renovation. 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.
“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 PMoA began as a community museum in 1966, moving into its current building in 1988, intending to house about 500 objects. Today, under the auspices of Florida Southern College, the Museum houses nearly 3,000 works of art and serves a dual purpose, adding an academic component. The PMoA boasts a unique art history and museum studies program, with its academic department housed for the benefit of students in the Smithsonian Affiliate Museum.
At the event, scheduled speakers included Dr. Kerr; Lynda Buck, board chair of the Polk Museum of Art; 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; and Sera Shaw ’24, Art History and Museum Studies major from Chapel Hill, N.C.
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. The expansion will include much-needed new multi-functional exhibition and educational spaces, including galleries to feature artwork from the Museum’s extensive permanent collection from around the globe.
“We continue to build upon a tremendous legacy here at the Polk Museum of Art,” Buck said. “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 allow the Museum to expand its current collections storage, which houses 2,800 works, and create flexible study, archival, and classroom spaces.