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Art museum asks Columbia council for help expanding

Michael Dwyer, preparator and exhibit designer, in June hangs portraits for the “From Marilyn to Mao, Andy Warhol's Famous Faces” exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art. The show will be at the museum until Sept. 13.
Michael Dwyer, preparator and exhibit designer, in June hangs portraits for the “From Marilyn to Mao, Andy Warhol's Famous Faces” exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art. The show will be at the museum until Sept. 13. FILE PHOTOGRAPH

Leaders of the Columbia Museum of Art want City Council to provide $1 million toward a $5 million renovation of their Main Street facility.

Museum director Karen Brosius and board president Claude Walker said Tuesday the money would help build a new entrance on Main Street, add some 15,000 square feet in four new galleries and improve education space.

Art patrons would get see more exhibits of contemporary, African-American and Asian art, Brosius said.

An upgraded museum would feed the vitality of the city center, they said.

Council did not vote on the request nor say where the money might come from.

But Mayor Steve Benjamin said the city will look into floating a bond to cover several construction projects that would be repaid over time with revenue from city meal tax, or hospitality tax, income.

The museum is well into a $16 million fund-raising campaign, Walker said. Contributions or pledges have produced 67 percent of the $5 million needed for construction, he told council at an afternoon work session.

The museum also has reached $8.3 million of a $10 million endowment goal, museum officials said. Donors who provided $1.6 million of that gave the museum discretion on how to spend it, she said.

The museum has received an additional $200,000 in state money.

Altogether, the museum has raised $13.2 million without the $1 million requested from City Hall.

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