Crocker to host gala museum opening fundraiser

 The Crocker Art Museum’s $100 million expansion will open for the first time at a gala celebration Sept. 25.

“We’re hoping to raise $1 million Sept. 25 through sponsorships and ticket sales, and those funds are going to operational costs for opening the new museum,” said Bobbe Brown, chairwoman of the gala.

The grand opening of the new Crocker museum will be Oct. 10.

The gala is a black-tie affair, with a cocktail reception, fine dining, dancing and live music from a string quartet.

The highlight of the night, however, will be at 9:30 when the full museum opens for the first time.

“It’s going to be absolutely amazing,” Brown said.

The Crocker Art Museum closed in June while the final stages of a three-year construction project were completed.

“We’re bringing the Crocker into the 21st century,” said Kathleen Richards marketing and communications coordinator for the museum.

The expansion adds 125,000 square feet of space to the museum, and it will allow the displayed portion of the collection to more than triple in size.

In the old space, only about 4 percent of the collection could be shown at any given time, Richards said. With the addition of the new space, about 15 percent of the collection will be on display.

“There were so many things we couldn’t show before,” said Scott Shields, the museum’s chief curator. “I think we’re able to showcase so much more of our collection and have larger shows now.”

When asked if the Crocker Art Museum – long known for its Gold Rush-era paintings – has an iconic or flagship piece, Shields said each of the gallery rooms will have one piece that serves as a focal point for the room.

In addition to showing more art, the expansion brings other amenities to the public.

In the past, the main entrance was up a flight of stairs, and Richards said the new entrance on the ground level makes the museum more accessible to people in wheelchairs, who previously had to enter through a more complex route at street level.

Also new to the Crocker is a cafe with both indoor and outdoor seating located on the ground floor, which is open to the public free of charge at all times and includes the new museum store.

Another highlight of the new space is the conservation lab with windows into the hallway, which Richards said will be a great way for visitors and especially students to see art as it is being restored and cared for.

A large temporary exhibit space is part of the new Crocker, and its first exhibit will be showing promised gifts to the museum, so visitors will be able to see pieces of art that will, in the future, be a part of the Crocker collection.

About 600 tickets to the Sept. 25 gala have been sold, and museum staff is expecting to have 700-750 people, Brown said.

Tickets are being sold for $1,000 and are available by calling 916-808-7843.

An event for those who donated $1,000 or more and their families will be held Oct. 8, and Crocker members will be able to go to the museum Oct. 9. The grand opening of the museum to the general public will be from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Oct. 10.

A final event held to coincide with the new Crocker opening will be from 8 p.m. Oct. 16 to 2 a.m. Oct. 17, which will showcase some of the museums new programs. It will feature live music, and ticket prices are $75 and can be bought here.

The museum’s hours are 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays, but open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on holiday Mondays – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; Presidents Day; Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Admission to the museum will be $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and college students, $5 for youths 7-17 and free for children 6 and under and Crocker members.

Photos courtesy of Crocker Art Museum.

Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.

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August 28, 2010 | 12:21 PM

Are they still gonna do free Sundays?

August 30, 2010 | 9:48 AM

Every Third Sunday of the month, starting November 21st, will be “Pay What You Wish” Sunday, sponsored by Bank of America.

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