Arthouse, a downtown contemporary art museum located on Congress and 7th, today announced plans to remodel and expand their downtown galleries and educational facilities. According to Arthouse, “The plans — developed by Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis, New York-based architects, the Board’s Building Committee and Staff — will triple total space from 7,000 sq. ft. to 20,830 sq.ft.”
Arthouse (formerly the Texas Fine Arts Association) was founded in 1911, and for more than ninety years it has advocated for the support of contemporary art in Texas, organizing exhibitions and presenting them in Austin and statewide. From its home, the Jones Center in downtown Austin, Arthouse pursues its mission: to promote the growth and appreciation of contemporary art and artists in Texas. The museum is well respected for its innovative exhibits and programs.
With the $6.6 million renovation and expansion, the project will “recycle” the current building which in the 1920’s was the Queen Theater, a key part of the Queen/Paramount/State theater “block,” and in the 1950’s became a Lerner Shops department store. Three new galleries, two artists’ studios, a 90-seat community/screening room, and a 5,500 sq. ft. rooftop space with a 33 foot x 17 foot movie screen will be added.
The highlight of the Arthouse project is the innovative architecture of the renovated structure. The striking building features randomly placed green translucent bricks, a modern awning reminiscent of the building’s department store past, large glass windows including live projections on the upper floor, and a dramatic rooftop deck with an open air movie theater. The main space on the second floor also doubles as a large screening room.
The Arthouse project follows Austin Museum of Arts recent announcement of a new free-standing 40,000 square foot museum and a separate 425,000 square foot 30-story office tower on the current lot at West Fourth & Guadalupe. Together, these projects mark an exciting expansion of downtown arts options. With regular events, gallery openings, and now rooftop movies, these venues will continue to thrive as cornerstones of the emerging downtown cultural scene.