Change continues to be in the air—along with the cranes supporting it—for Palm Beach County’s most esteemed museums. The Norton’s multiyear transformation continues apace, and the Cornell Museum at Old School Square reopened this winter with an all-new interior.
To this list of beautified spaces we can soon add the Boca Raton Museum of Art. The Mizner Park linchpin began renovation to its exterior Tuesday. The $1.5 million project, funded by a handful of generous patrons, will include a new paint job, a new lighting grid and pedestrian-friendly signage. Most importantly, the new design elements will function as works of art in and of themselves.
The museum’s loading dock gate, which fronts the restaurants and retail establishments of Mizner Park, will be replaced by a 12-foot-high horizontal structure made of sleekly designed metal, mirrored and acrylic panels. Titled “Mending Wall, an homage to the poem by Robert Frost,” this shimmering abstract artwork will be lit from inside as well as out, allowing passersby to see inside the museum as well as their own reflections.
The museum’s deteriorating 250-foot-long trellis along Federal Highway will also receive a striking facelift. It will be replaced by a canopy of braided steel cables covered in a mix of jade vine and Queen’s Wreath, positioned at a 45-degree angle from the ground to the museum’s roofline. Titled “Arcadia,” the canopy will tower 30 feet above the heads of pedestrians, casting dynamic, sun-dappled shade for strolling visitors.
Finally—and most excitingly for its artistic potential—the museum will be adding the “Promenade,” a 27,000-square-foot outdoor space for large-scale exhibitions, conceived as an extension of its popular Sculpture Garden. It will provide space for both permanent and temporary exhibitions.
Why these renovations? Visibility has long been a sticking point for the Boca Museum’s management. Nestled discretely in the most high-trafficked area of Boca Raton and overshadowed by its next-door neighbor, the Mizner Park Amphitheater, the building has become almost camouflaged by its surroundings. When I interviewed then-newly appointed Executive Director Irvin Lippman in 2014, he spoke of his desire to renew the moribund exterior.
The project’s architects are well positioned to make that desire a reality. “Mending Wall” and “Promenade” will be designed by Margi Nothard, whose Glavovic Studios has specialized in public and commercial art galleries and museums. Her architecture has infused institutions such as Young Circle ArtsPark in Hollywood, Girls’ Club Foundation in Fort Lauderdale and the Children’s Art Museum in Davie.
For the landscape elements, the museum has enlisted Roberto Rovira, a registered Landscape Architect with an international portfolio. He has won awards for his contributions to the Miami Monument Competition and the Wynwood Gateway Park Competition. He’ll work with Nothard on the “Promenade,” and will single-handedly create “Arcadia.”
As the architects work, the museum will remain open. For more information, call 561/392-2500 or visit bocamuseum.org.