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Grand Opening Of New Museum Of Wisconsin Art Provides Cornerstone For Rich Visual Arts Scene

WEST BEND, Wis., April 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A major milestone in Wisconsin art will be marked Saturday with the opening of the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) in its stunning new facility. The 31,000-square-foot building houses the Museum and its collection, serves as a living showcase for Wisconsin art, and plays a significant role in the revitalization of West Bend's downtown and riverfront area. MOWA will be free and open to the public 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on April 6 for the celebration.

"We are the custodians of Wisconsin art – telling the story of our state by connecting creative arts with our cultural heritage – and we now have a facility that does justice to the contemporary arts scene in Wisconsin," says Laurie Winters, Executive Director I CEO of MOWA. "While we showcase some of the biggest names in Wisconsin art, we see as equally important our role in cultivating our region's artistic future and next generation of artists."

The new building takes on the triangular shape of its site and includes nearly 12,000 square feet of gallery space, 7,000 square feet of facility rental space, a gift shop, education studios, and an outdoor sculpture garden. It was designed by HGA ( Hammel Green & Abrahamson Inc.) and built by Mortenson Construction.

MOWA's gallery space is more than doubled in the new facility, allowing the institution to showcase more of its collection than ever before. After five years in storage, a collection highlight back on display is Carl von Marr's enormous masterpiece, The Flagellants.

Opening exhibitions include Antifragile: Contemporary Glass ( April 6 - July 28), which features work from some of today's hottest glass artists and includes 17 nationally- and internationally-renowned artists based in Wisconsin, and Reginald Baylor: Repetitive Patterns ( April 6 - June 30). Fresh, colorful, and complex paintings have secured Baylor a place as one of the most original and recognizable artists working in Wisconsin today. Also on display, in MOWA's State Gallery, will be works from the Wisconsin Regional Artists Association (WRAA, though June 23). Founded in 1954, WRAA works with UW-Madison's Division of Continuing Studies to offer workshops, exhibitions, and critiques to ensure its 600 non-professional members have opportunities to learn and flourish in their avocation.

In contrast to other museums, MOWA offers membership at a lower cost with unlimited museum access. Visitors pay a $12 entrance fee and automatically receive a membership that allows for unlimited return visits for a full year to see changing exhibitions and new works on loan.

Nestled along the Milwaukee River at 205 Veterans Ave., the new museum has provided a catalyst for investment along several of West Bend's Tax Incremental Finance Districts.

"MOWA may well be the economic engine that provides a spark for downtown commerce this year," says T.J. Justice, City of West Bend Director of Development. "Its impressive presence is now a cornerstone of the city's downtown infrastructure."

Following the April 6 opening will be a family day on Sunday, April 7, with live music and dance, storytelling, children's art projects, refreshments, and more. On Sunday, regular entrance fees apply.

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