It looks like you’ve got the next seven months to get in that Gibbes visit you’ve been putting off. The museum’s Amy Mercer tells us that in July 2014, the Gibbes will close for about 16 months to complete major renovations. The museum will continue to offer programs, classes, and events off-site during that time, but you won’t be able to see the permanent collection.

The $12 million renovation will transform the entire building, adding a museum café, more classrooms for adults and children’s classes, a new lecture space, and even artist studios. In addition, Mercer says, the new Gibbes will return to its original mission of offering education and community outreach. Upon the re-opening, the first floor will be free and open to the public. “The Gibbes is poised to begin a new era — one that can result in achieving our goal to be a creative, inspirational leader in the world of American Southern art,” says Angela Mack, the Gibbes’ executive director.

In addition, the garden courtyard will be completely redone and the second and third floors will have expanded gallery space for both the permanent collection and traveling exhibitions. Stay tuned for more information on the planned changes, and in the meantime, check out the below renderings of what the museum will look like from museum designer Jeff Daly.

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