Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
MONA announces expansion, renovation project

MONA announces expansion, renovation project

  • Updated
  • 0
{{featured_button_text}}
MONA expansion

A preliminary design shows the location of MONA's planned expansion. Further design details are still in progress. 

KEARNEY — The Museum of Nebraska Art is planning a $20 million capital campaign to expand and renovate its building in downtown Kearney, adding a community studio, cafe/coffee bar and more features.

According to a press release, the plan is to restore and renovate MONA’s 25,000 square feet and construct a 16,000-square-foot expansion.

“The need to expand, restore and renovate our current facility to meet future needs has been evident for more than a decade and was formally recognized in the MONA strategic plan 2015-2020,” said Marilyn Hadley, president of MONA’s board of directors. “The strategic plan provided the impetus for an expansion and restoration/renovation project that has been under study for the past four years.”

Proposed plans for the new space include:

- A modern gallery experience with new ways to increase the connection of the visitors to the works of art;

- A community studio that functions as a makerspace, stocked with supplies and tools for all visitors during open hours;

- An enlarged outdoor sculpture garden with added green space for the enjoyment of citizens;

- Community space both in and around the exterior of the museum for public gathering and enjoyment; inside event space to have ample storage and a kitchen for group gatherings, accommodating up to 275 people;

- New amenities including a café/coffee bar;

- New spaces designed for flexibility to host large programs, performances, lectures, events and special activities.

Nicole Herden, executive director of MONA, said, “We are positioning MONA to be the destination for Nebraska artists and collectors as well as for our local citizens and visitors to the region. We have carefully researched and planned for new programming that is relevant and pays attention to the needs of present and future patrons. Based on the programming needs, we are defining space allocation to enhance the visitor experience.”

MONA was last renovated in 1993. The neoclassical building was originally a 1911 post office building, which was purchased in 1986 to become the state’s art museum. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Plans for this project were years in the making.

Beginning in June 2019, museum leadership began working with Jon Maass, a New York-based architect, project director and owner’s representative, to undertake a comprehensive space programming process, researching and defining needs for a rejuvenated facility.

Then in June 2020, MONA began working with Mark Bacon and his Lincoln-based BVH Architecture team members, who have created a conceptual design and are creating a more detailed schematic design based on the programming plan for the museum.

A feasibility study was completed in 2018 by fundraising consulting firm Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt. The fundraising consulting firm recommended that the MONA board move forward with a capital campaign to raise $20 million for expansion and restoration/renovation and to create a $5 million operating endowment. The MONA board of directors agreed with the recommendation and is in the early stages of fundraising.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the community and the state, and for the University of Nebraska at Kearney,” UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen said. “MONA is a treasure and its impact will be increased through this visionary project, which is being boldly led by the board and Nicole. More than ever, arts are being celebrated, and the state, region, country and the world will have greater opportunity to more fully engage with the art of Nebraska through this project.”

Beginning in June 2019, museum leadership began working with Jon Maass, a New York-based architect, project director and owner’s representative, to undertake a comprehensive space programming process, researching and defining needs for a rejuvenated facility.

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Recommended for you

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics