Dallas Museum of Art’s Expansion

After conducting a study for a future upgrade, DMA will be discussing its expansion project which might include a new building for future exhibitions according to a Dallas Morning News article from January 23 which reports, 

“Late last year and with little fanfare, the Dallas Museum of Art took concrete steps toward a major expansion, commissioning the architecture firm Perkins & Will to conduct a planning study for a future building project. That study will help the museum determine the scope, location and costs for such a building, and develop a process for hiring a design architect.

The museum has notified the city, which owns the museum building, of its intentions. “We will continue to have conversations with them about the public benefit of this expansion,” says Jennifer Scripps, the director of the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs.

A need for more exhibition and storage space is driven by the projected arrival of the so-called Fast Forward bequest of 2005, in which the Dallas arts patrons Robert and Marguerite Hoffman, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, and Deedie and Rusty Rose promised their collections to the museum. Exactly when those collections will arrive is undetermined, but when they do the gifts could entail more than 1,000 works, most of it contemporary art.”

However, the expansion of DMA currently holds out a funding problem since revenues are still down due to the pandemic according to a Dallas Morning news article from January 25. They say,

“Complicating the financial picture in 2022 are the museum’s attendance numbers. COVID-19 cut its visitors in half. Before the pandemic, annual attendance was over 900,000, says Arteaga. This year, the museum expects to see 450,000 visitors.

The News’ Mark Lamster also warns of a potential burden on taxpayers: “The danger is that the museum board, driven by its patrons, saddles taxpayers with debt and increased financial obligations to support their own, tax-deductible gifts.”

In Texas, almost every museum owes a significant chunk of change, directly or indirectly, to proceeds from fossil fuels. That includes the DMA.

“There’s an umbilical cord that attaches these museums to extreme wealth,” says Andrew McClellan, a professor of art history at Tufts University. “American museums are really vexed in this regard because we have decided to reject federal funding,”

The expansion project of Dallas Museum of Art this 2022 will be the first major expansion since 1993.