Today the Gibbes Museum announced their reopening date, May 28, after an almost two-year $13.5 million renovation. The reno includes a new layout with free ground floor admission, a first for the museum, which is 111 years-old and home to more than 10,000 works. Executive Director of the Gibbes, Angela Mack, says, “Not only will the updated space better showcase our collection, it will provide visitors the opportunity to see artists at work, all aimed at delivering on our mission of enhancing lives through art.”

The ground floor, inspired by the building’s original Beaux Arts style layout, will focus on community involvement in the arts with classrooms, a cafe and museum store, and lecture and event spaces. The second and third floors also got a facelift too that increased gallery space by 30 percent and added a research room for scholars to view works from the collection.

Guests can celebrate the reopening by checking out two special exhibits — The Things We Carry: Contemporary Art in the South which debuts on May 28, and Beyond Catfish Row: The Art of Porgy and Bess which will showcase various interpretations of Porgy and Bess throughout the year. The Things We Carry is a response to the Emanuel AME tragedy with images that address both the South’s past and present. Beyond Catfish Row coincides with Spoleto Festival’s performance of Porgy and Bess and will include works by artists like George Biddle, the original illustrator of the libretto in 1935 and by Kara Walker, the 2013 illustrator. 

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