Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami may offer 20,000-foot rooftop sculpture garden
By Marilyn Bowden
Plans for the long-awaited new addition to the City of North Miami's Museum of Contemporary Art, or MOCA, will be presented in a hearing next week, with a groundbreaking planned for the spring of 2012.
"We're working with the architects right now on the design," said MOCA Executive Director Bonnie Clearwater. She said its anticipated construction will be completed at the end of 2013.
Total costs will come to about $14.5 million, including architectural fees, she said — well under the $18.03 million budgeted for it in the city's five-year Capital Improvement Program for 2009-'14. The design plans will be presented for a public hearing Sept. 13, Ms. Clearwater said.
The designers are Gwathmey Siegel & Associates, the original architects of MOCA's Joan Lehmann Building. The completed structure, totaling more than 50,000 square feet, will triple the museum's exhibition space, Ms. Clearwater said.
"They have come up with a new twist on how to accomplish this in a pretty dramatic way," she said. "One of the things this new plan gives us is the potential of gaining a 20,000-square-foot roof sculpture garden."
The project will also house a new education wing, Ms. Clearwater said, a development anticipated this year with the inauguration of The MOCA Art Institute, which consolidates the museum's educational programs into a unified curriculum that progressively builds knowledge and skills from primary-school level through adulthood.
North Miami City Manager Russell Benford has called MOCA "an international destination and an anchor of our downtown renovation."
The groundbreaking will complete the museum's 15th anniversary celebration, Ms. Clearwater said, which kicks off with a gala on Feb. 25, 2012.
"We put "gala' in quotes because it will be a uniquely MOCA event," she said. "It will be pretty amazing. The artists who were an important part of our success will be reunited for the gala.
"When we opened, we were filling a niche for an institution exhibiting and collecting contemporary art. Miami was not known for that then, and now it's one of the major centers of the international art world."
The gala honors Alberto IbargŁen and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, she said. Irma and Norman Braman are honorary chairs. "This is an international event," Ms. Clearwater said. "People are flying in from all over the world."
Artist Mark Handforth, who had the first solo showing at MOCA in 1996, will be returning for a major mid-career exhibition during Art Basel, she said. "It will be showing inside and outside, all around Miami and North Miami. The idea is to demonstrate how MOCA's reach is far beyond the physical limits of the building."
The Museum of Contemporary Art is at 770 NE 125th St., North Miami. Details: (305) 893-6211.
To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e -Miami Today, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.