The Andy Warhol Museum and its supporters have apparently come to the conclusion that the museum named for the visionary Pittsburgh artist has outgrown its space.
On Friday, the Warhol announced that the museum will embark on a $60 million expansion encompassing a six-block section of its North Side neighborhood.
With an eye toward the future, an emphasis on diversity and a goal of broadening its audience, the project will be known as “The Pop District” and incorporate public art displays, digital media production and live music.
The was made Friday morning in the Warhol Museum’s auditorium that was packed with media, politicians and invited guests.
The Warhol has been a popular attraction in Pittsburgh and a destination for out-of-towners. But as with many museums, the challenges brought by the pandemic forced some introspection as well as an urge for at least some degree of reinvention.
“The Pop District will demonstrate the role that museums can and must play in their communities by serving as centers of innovation and catalysts of economic development,” said Steven Knapp, president and CEO of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, parent organization of the Warhol.
2 phases over 10 years
The two-phased project will roll out over 10 years.
It includes creating a custom-designed workforce development program involving a diverse group of young people (ages 14-25+). Participants will be exposed to new education programmes, teaching them to produce social media content for the museum and outside clients.
The first phase includes plans for securing $30 million to $40 million in funding and developing the new education programs outside of the museum. On Friday, visitors were led to the seventh floor of a building on Isabella Street where 9,400 square feet of digital media creation labs and classrooms will be housed. As part of the plan, public art installations are being added.
The second phase will include additional funding as part of a capital campaign for the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, including the Warhol. It will also feature a live performance venue.
The Warhol says its goals include providing $1 million in annual income for creative talent, creating at least 25 annual full-time and part-time jobs, and working with a majority BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color)/LGBTQ+/immigrant ) workforce.
Mellon, Hillman foundations major backers
The Richard King Mellon Foundation is the lead funder of The Pop District. It has committed $15 million over the next 3½ years. The Henry L. Hillman Foundation is providing $10 million over four years. Meanwhile, the Warhol says discussions are underway with other potential funders.
A statement from the museum projects that “the economic impact of the district will include over $100 million in annual economic activity and 50,000 to 70,000 new visitors to the North Shore each year.”
“The Warhol knows that art can change lives, and art can change cities,” said David K. Roger, Hillman Family Foundations president. “With The Pop District, that change is coming by bringing arts programming and workforce training outside the museum’s walls to create a six-block cultural destination on the North Shore.”
The expansion is also seen as a way for the Warhol to maintain long-term sustainability.
“This will literally expand the Cultural District,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “A lot of people will be crossing those bridges back and forth (to and from Downtown) knowing we have great cultural amenities on both sides.”
Paul Guggenheimer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or [email protected]
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