The Asheville Art Museum's long-awaited reopening is awaiting longer than anyone hoped or anticipated.
Just a few months ago, museum officials gave area media a first look from inside the renovated galleries and announced an opening sometime in the summer. Now that summer has passed, leaders now are saying the museum won’t welcome visitors again at least until October -- three years after the museum closed for its $24 million renovation.
“We aren’t holding anything back. We don’t have a secret date we’re not sharing with anybody,” said Lindsey Grossman, the museum’s communications manager. “I know people are walking by and looking at it and, from the outside, it is looking very finished, but there’s just a lot that needs to happen on the inside. We’re just as excited to find out when we’re opening as everybody else.”
Grossman pins the delay largely on the sanding and polishing of terrazzo flooring in the lobby, which has pushed back installing artwork in the galleries above.
“The finishing of the floors is bringing up a lot of dust, and dust is like kryptonite for art,” she said. “So we are unable to continue or start installation in the galleries because we can’t let the art get anywhere near the dust.”
The museum sits both geographically and in stature at the epicenter of a visual arts nexus in the heart of downtown Asheville.
The Center for Craft is planning to reopen in November after its renovation. The Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center moved a year ago to an expanded space off Pack Square Park. The Momentum Gallery is renovating a 15,000-square foot space that, along with the iconic Blue Spiral Gallery, gives downtown two flagship commercial galleries bookending a handful of other visual arts spaces.
“The museum is only going to have this opportunity once,” Grossman said. “It’s a huge deal for us and for the community, and we want to honor that and make it happen in the right way.”