The Museum building, originally designed by Donald Singer, is a classic postmodern structure with its bold volumes abounding with cornices, windows, and rusticated masonry that are emblematic and evocative of Addison Mizner’s Mediterranean Revival architecture of the 1920s that has left a distinctive and indelible stamp on Boca Raton.
Over the past 16 years the Museum has been somewhat camouflaged by the Mizner Park Amphitheater, built immediately after the completion of the Museum and directly to its east. In particular, the main entrance to the Museum, originally designed as a welcoming entrance to the art galleries from the Park, now appears as a side door; and the loading dock gate, which currently fronts the restaurants and retail in Mizner Park, and by default is the Museum’s most noticeable façade, unfortunately and unofficially serves as the “face” of the Museum. How best to create a new relationship between the Museum and the changing dynamics of its environs has been the challenge of the design team of Glavovic Studio – one which they have solved brilliantly.
Boca Raton Museum of Art’s recently completed renovation on our west and south elevations creates greater visibility and presence with a newly landscaped Promenade. Designed by Glavovic Studio with landscaping by Studio Rovira, Promenade is a 27,000-square-foot outdoor space for large-scale exhibitions and pedestrian experiences that is conceived as an extension of the Museum’s Sculpture Garden and as a place to engage the public directly in the experience of art with changing exhibition programming. An undulating pathway through the area provides multiple locations for installations and amplifies the phenomenal qualities of the outdoors as part of the art experience. This Boca Raton Museum of Art Commission is funded with a generous gift from the Bequest of Ruth and Kenneth Feigl and underscores the Museum’s commitment to Boca Raton’s Art in Public Places initiatives.
The loading dock gate was replaced with a 12-foot high screen of metal, mirrored, and acrylic panels designed by Margi Glavovic Nothard of Glavovic Studio, an architecture and design firm based in Fort Lauderdale. Entitled Mending Wall, an homage to the poem by Robert Frost (1874-1963), the gate presents a new relationship with visitors who can see at one glance through the porous screen into the activities of the Museum loading dock while also seeing their own reflections. The gated partition continues around the southwest corner as a vertical 12-foot green wall of Bougainvillea, Creeping Fig, Garlic Vine, Queen’s Wreath, and Wild Allamanda.
“Our goal is to create the kind of dynamic outdoor environment that we strive for in our Museum’s galleries. Nothard and landscape architect Roberto Rovira have ensured that the landscape, the architecture, and the art are integrated without barriers or boundaries and their collaboration has made for a stunning large-scale commission that extends into the city,” said Irvin Lippman, Executive Director, Boca Raton Museum of Art.
The Wolgin Education Center takes prominence at the entry to the Museum with full exposure to Mizner Park and visitors passing the Museum. To support ongoing programming for the new multi-purpose space, the Museum created the 70th Anniversary Education Fund. Donations to the fund will purchase state of the art audiovisual equipment to enliven our award-winning programs, lectures, and film screenings. Contributions will support program expenses including our education mornings where 5,000 students each year learn the art of looking and making.
The next phase of renovations, completed in June 2020, positions the Museum as a fresh cultural landmark in downtown Boca Raton and be a more vital educational resource for our whole community.
The generosity and commitment of our patrons make possible the key projects we need to undertake to be successful. To that end, we celebrate the recent gift of $1M from Jody and Martin Grass and their children Leila, Sharla, and Noah. The contribution is one of the largest cash gifts in the Museum’s history and underscores years of dedicated stewardship shown by the family – Jody has served as chair of the Museum’s Board of Trustees since 2016.
Pat and Nick Ohnell contributed $1M toward the renovation of the Museum sculpture garden. In recognition of this gift the sculpture garden, long a major feature of the Boca Raton Museum of Art, will be named the Ohnell Sculpture Garden.
The sculpture garden has been integral to the architecture of the Museum designed by Donald Singer and opened to the public in January 2001. Singer created the sculpture garden with walls merging with the building in a seemingly free play of forms. In many ways this was an homage to the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose work Singer greatly admired.
Margi Glavovic Nothard, head designer at Glavovic Studio, was tasked with creating a more welcoming space for visitors to enjoy the sculpture garden as an outdoor extension of the Museum’s galleries. The final touches are anticipated to be completed by the end of this summer. One can look forward to seeing the newly commissioned mural by Odili Donald Odita and the monumental Marty’s Cube by Tony Rosenthall on loan from Marty Margolies. Still to be installed is Wind Rose, a sound sculpture by Susan Philipsz – eight channels of the sounds of blowing into a conch shell, acquired with a generous contribution from Jody H. and Martin Grass.
With the renovations that have already taken place on the south and west sides of the Museum and the anticipated completion of the renovations this summer on the east entryway, the 360-degree new landscaping that surrounds the Museum will reveal it as the landmark building it was intended. This completes the exterior renovations for which the Museum raised over $4M with major contributions from the Pat and Nick Ohnell, Jody Harrison Grass and Martin Grass, Ken and Ruth Feigl, Beatrice Cummings Mayer, and other generous patrons.
The demolition of the colonnade will provide a much more pleasing and visible entryway to the Museum. Along the undulating walkway will be a series of eighteen fins each twelve-feet tall and twelve-feet apart. Standing as sentinels, they illuminate the pathway and serve as posts to hold a 200-foot long fabric fencing, itself a work of art, which will be installed when ticketed events are performed in the amphitheater. Designed by Glavovic Studio, we worked closely with the City of Boca Raton to realize this improvement. Completion date October 2021.