The Bruce Museum's Campaign for the New Bruce has received a $5 million gift from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. The donation, first announced to the public at a community-wide celebration held at the Museum on Sunday, September 8, will fund the Education Wing planned for the Museum's transformative expansion and construction project currently under way.
"Steven and Alexandra Cohen, through their charitable foundation, are already invaluable supporters of the Museum's youth and family programs, helping us provide arts education to over 25,000 K-12 students a year from schools across our region," says Robert Wolterstorff, The Susan E. Lynch Executive Director. "With this incredibly generous capital donation from the Cohens, the Museum will be able to deliver on its promise to double the number of schoolchildren we serve each year, and dramatically expand our arts education programs for students, families, and visitors of all ages and abilities. This is a game-changer for the New Bruce, and we can't thank the Cohens enough for their vision and commitment to the Museum."
The new Education Wing of the reimagined Museum will be located in the current Museum building and will include new classrooms, with space dedicated to interactive, hands-on learning quadrupling in size. The Education Wing, which will be named in honor of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, will have its own dedicated entrance, enabling the Museum to accommodate over 200 students per day in grades K-12. For a number of these students, a school trip to the Bruce will be their first encounter with a museum.
With the Cohen Foundation's gift, the Campaign for the New Bruce is now more than 80 percent of the way toward the construction goal of $45 million. The overall $60 million campaign includes an additional $15 million for the Museum's Endowment, to ensure sustainability and to support new programs. More than $6 million has been raised for the New Bruce Endowment.
The September 8 celebration, Bruce ConsTRUCKS, served as the launch of the public phase of the Campaign, an occasion to thank supporters of the New Bruce and to invite the entire community to join these benefactors in reimagining the Bruce Museum.
The day also marked the beginning of the next phase of the expansion project: a top-to-bottom renovation of the Museum's current changing gallery spaces. These galleries will re-open on February 1, 2020 with the installation of major new art and science exhibitions. The enhancements to the art galleries will be followed, in February 2020, by a complete renovation and reinvention of the permanent science galleries.
The centerpiece of the New Bruce is a three-story, 40,000 square-foot addition that will more than double the size of the current Museum. Designed by the New Orleans firm of EskewDumezRipple, the building will open directly onto Bruce Park and feature a delicate striated façade of cast stone and glass inspired by the surfaces of Connecticut's rock quarries. Groundbreaking for the art wing will take place summer 2020.
When complete, this unprecedented initiative will expand the Museum from 30,000 square feet to over 70,000 square feet, adding state-of-the-art exhibition galleries for art and science, new education spaces, and a restaurant, auditorium, and meeting spaces that will make the Museum a vibrant center for the Greenwich community.
Bruce Museum Managing Director, Suzanne Lio, applauded the Cohens for their past support, as well as the ways in which this major new gift will impact the Museum's future, stating, "The Bruce is delivering art instruction to more children and young adults, and touching the lives of greater numbers of visitors of all ages and abilities than ever before because of the annual support we receive from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. This incredibly impactful gift – and the generosity that this gift will undoubtedly inspire in other supporters – will transform the way we reach audiences."
The Campaign for the New Bruce Committee is Co-Chaired by John Ippolito, Susan V. Mahoney, and Heidi Brake Smith and includes Frederic H. Brooks, Patricia W. Chadwick, Maryann Keller Chai, William Deutsch, Nancy A. Duffy, Kathy Epstein, Becky Gillan, Robert B. Goergen, Sachiko Goodman, Tracy Holton, Karen Keegan, Jan Rogers Kniffen, Arianne F. Kolb, Robert H. Lawrence, Jr., Cricket Lockhart, James B. Lockhart III, and Deborah Simon.
To learn more about the Campaign for the New Bruce, including a schedule of exhibitions and programs during the renovation phase and details about the Museum's new and expanded galleries for art and science exhibitions and enhanced spaces for hosting schoolchildren, families, and community groups, visit brucemuseum.org.