As you know, on Friday, May 13, 2016, the Town of Framingham informed the tenants of the municipal-owned Danforth Building that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would no longer renew the permit on the building’s boiler, making the heating system obsolete. The Jonathan Maynard Building, purchased by Danforth Art in 2014, was the natural choice for an immediate relocation. However, as one full floor of the building is occupied under lease by Framingham State University, the remaining space would not by itself large enough to accommodate all of the organization’s short-term needs.
A soon as the news of the need to vacate was received, members of the Danforth Art Board of Trustees began an exhaustive search for other temporary spaces that may accommodate the entire organization, considering partial and complete space rentals—some move-in ready, some raw—primarily in Framingham. Having looked at over 20 facilities, it became clear that, to err on the side of fiscal conservatism, the organization had to proceed with partial renovation of the floors available in the Jonathan Maynard Building. While a financially responsible decision, it was, too, a difficult one which required the organization to split its museum and school operations, offering exhibitions only in spaces provided by collaborating partners for the next year.
The third floor and a portion of the first floor of the Jonathan Maynard Building will be renovated to accommodate Danforth Art’s administrative offices, collections storage, and five art school studios. Temporary administrative offices on the second floor will temporarily house staff from October until the renovations are complete. The renovated third floor is expected to open as office and studio art classroom space by January of 2017.
We anticipate occasional disruptions to business operations during the upcoming relocation as we pack, move, and reconnect systems. Through October, our staff will be actively packing and preparing for the move and we appreciate your patience. Should you experience any abnormally long delay in communications, we encourage you to contact any staff member at Info (at) danforthart.org as this email address will be monitored at all times. We will do our best to keep our Facebook page up to date during all transitions as well, and encourage you to check there if you are unable to reach us. We will reach out to our community if we need any volunteer help.
In 2015, Danforth Art received a $40,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation’s American Art Program to support the museum’s efforts to safeguard and document its Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller Special Collection. This grant allowed the curatorial department to inventory, photograph, and conserve more than 350 collection objects and ephemera by the renowned sculptor, and to build out a collections workroom for the preparations. Since the completion of that inventory, the curatorial team, with the assistance of skilled volunteers, began similar work on Danforth Art’s Permanent Collection of 3,500 objects of American art from the 19th century to today in all media from sculpture to paintings to photography. The curatorial team had also completed its facility planning, outlining the collections’ space, climate, and packing needs. As a result of this advanced planning, the curatorial team is well prepared to move both collections to a new, secure storage facility in the Jonathan Maynard Building in the coming months.
Danforth Art exhibitions will take place at partnering museums and educational and cultural organizations for the coming year. The first of these exhibitions will be Found in Collection: Contemporary Photography from the Danforth Art Museum Permanent Collection – An Exhibition in Two Parts, scheduled at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts, for December 10, 2016 –January 1, 2017, and March 9, 2017 – March 26, 2017. An exhibition of works by Fenway Studio artist Marion Pooke (American, 1883-1975) is in production for 2017 to be hosted by the Walnut Hill School of Natick. More information will be available in the coming weeks.
Although exhibition space will not immediately be available in the Town of Framingham, Danforth Art will continue to work with community partners such as Framingham Public Schools, the Framingham Public Library, the Callahan Center, and the like to provide talks, educational programs, and special events in the community. More information will be available in the coming weeks.
The Town of Framingham discussed at their August 2 Board of Selectmen meeting that they anticipated tenants’ occupancy of the Danforth Building into October. Danforth Art will offer a short, 4-week studio art class schedule for adults and children on Tuesdays through Saturdays only, from September 10 through October 7, 2016. This abbreviated season will include adult classes in drawing, painting, and watercolor for beginning through advanced students. The children’s offerings will include both after school and Saturday classes for children in grades K through 8. The class schedules will be available soon. Registration will open by August 26, 2016, online at www.danforthart.org or by phone to 508-620-0937.
Given the interruptions to operations in the coming year, Danforth Art is suspending our membership program effective immediately, and will no longer sell or renew memberships of any kind. Danforth Art, and partners listed below, will honor the following benefits through the expiration date listed on their Danforth Art membership card: complimentary admission at New England Regional Art Museum partners; complimentary admission through North American Reciprocal Museum Association (NARM) and Reciprocal Organization of American Museums (ROAM); and discounts on studio art classes for the Fall 2016 season and Winter 2017 season.
With the May vacate announcement, Danforth Art calculated that we face a more than half a million dollars spike in operating costs related to this unexpected move. The organization launched the #GoForthDanforth fundraising campaign to raise those funds. Your financial contribution right now will support the immediate financial needs of the organization, both the anticipated ongoing operating costs and the new and more pressing costs of this pending move. Financial contributions made now will help cover critical expenses including packing and moving expenses, refitting the spaces at the Jonathan Maynard Building, and general operating support during this transition. Although your contributions are not going toward a capital campaign for a full building renovation, your contributions to this phase of construction are vital to our future plans, and will help cover the extensive demolition required on the first and third floors and necessary systems upgrades. Donations can be made at https://www.razoo.com/us/story/Goforthdanforth.