MN Museum of American Art finds a home

Starting in October the Minnesota Museum of American Art gets to hang its art on its own walls again.


Kristin Makholm

Photo courtesy the MMAA

The museum will move into a street level suite of galleries in the Pioneer Building this fall, where it will be open for limited hours each week. The partial re-opening will allow the museum to see if the new location will work as a permanent home. Executive Director Kristin Makholm says the location, near the edge of the Lowertown neighborhood, will help the museum become more integrated with the downtown St. Paul community.

This new home is right along the light rail line, it’s right on the skyway, it’s two blocks from Union Depot and from the hub of the Lowertown artists’ community, and this location really will reflect and signify our embeddedness in the community in a new and dynamic way.

Three years ago the museum was forced to leave it’s home on Kellogg Boulevard in downtown Saint Paul to make way for redevelopment. A lack of both funds and leadership forced the museum to put its collection in storage.

Then director Kristin Makholm was brought on board, and ever since she’s been working to raise the funds for a new home, while simultaneously keeping the collection alive in people’s minds by touring the works in galleries across the state.

Makholm says this move means a great deal for the museum and the community:

It will be like a living room where neighbors can play a real part in helping to determine what the new MMAA will be like. The “on the road” exhibitions we’ve been doing for the past couple of years have been important for the MMAA because they’ve allowed us to share our distinctive collection in new venues throughout the metro and state and to invite new audiences into the fold. Those exhibitions will continue to happen in the next few years.

Makholm says the new home will allow the museum to reconnect with the public. She says now is the time for the museum to take the next steps toward establishing a new home.

Everyone wants to see the MMAA back in a strong and significant way, and there is much support for this new gallery, this location, and the kind of exhibitions and activities that will be offered in the space.

Our goal is a permanent home and so, like any nonprofit, fund-raising and “funds-sustaining ” are the challenges we see on the horizon. We are optimistic because we have received so much support from the community and government sources alike, for the build out of this new space and for our operations in general, but it will be important to continue to bring in supporters from the entire metro, state, and region who understand the unique stories the MMAA can and will tell through art and through collaborations with artists and other organizations.

The historic Pioneer Building was once home to the Pioneer Press.

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