A groundbreaking ceremony took place at the Gibbes Museum of Art today. Laura Gates, the president of the Board of Directors at the Gibbes, shared her enthusiasm for the coming “restoration, renovation, and repurposing” of the museum. Gates also gave thanks to the community stakeholders and sponsors of this project, which began in March 2011, with the capital campaign.

The “Reimagined Gibbes” will contain four new onsite studios and classrooms, a new lecture space, and a free pedestrian walkway between Meeting Street and King Street. The upstairs of the museum will showcase the restored Campbell Rotunda galleries, the Rivers Collection of Decorative Arts, the Gibbes’ signature genre paintings and portraits, and a  collection of contemporary artists and art.

Honorary Gibbes member, Joseph P. Riley, Jr., attended the ceremony as well and painted the first stroke on the “Reimagined Gibbes” canvas. As mayor Riley said, “a visual arts museum is such an important part of a great city,” and 18 months from now, the Charleston community and out-of-town visitors will be able to see the $10 million worth of renovations and restorations to come.