The Palm Beaches, widely known as cultural hotspots, are teeming with gorgeous galleries and stupendous street art. The Norton Museum of Art has proved itself to be one of Florida’s leading galleries with its new, cutting-edge expansion and exhibitions. The museum made its debut in 1941, but reopened this February upon completing a 6-year, $100 million renovation. Today, it boasts over 7,600 pieces from European, American, and Chinese descent. The museum is well-known for its permanent collections by artists including Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Lorna Simpson, and Donald Judd. Here are a few reasons why you should visit the Norton Museum of Art in downtown West Palm Beach this spring.
Explore the breathtaking new buildings
After the Norton’s largest renovation in its 78-year history, the museum boasts a significant expansion of approximately 59,000 square feet! This growth has enabled the Norton to display more art, present more educational programs, and provide a “culturally underserved” community with a more up-to-date museum. The Kenneth C. Griffith Building now hosts the 210-seat Stiller Family Foundation Auditorium for performances, lectures, documentaries, and other showcases. In addition, the William Randolph Hearst Education Center hosts an educational gallery for students! The sleek building also features floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase an 80-year-old banyan tree, which has marked the entrance to the museum since its inauguration in 1941.
View the new exhibitions
The Norton has works for everyone, including Impressionist paintings, Buddhist sculptures, European photography, displays of Pointillism, and even modern Pop Art. Now, with over 12,000 square feet of new gallery space, a 35% expansion, the Norton Museum of Art can develop its collections. Many additions are contemporary art and photography work by female artists. Eight meticulously-selected new exhibitions, which include fascinating themed photography and wondrous 19th-century watercolors, aim to highlight the mission and strengths of the newly transformed museum. Ancient Chinese lanterns are also one of the latest exhibitions, which display silk paintings from the Ming dynasty. The new gallery space has laid the foundation for the Norton Museum of Art to grow in the future to become the state’s leading cultural institution.
Shop and dine
Artsy souvenirs and gifts can be found in the museum’s new store, which offers anything from beautiful art books to stunning handmade jewelry. Of course, no trip would be complete without stopping at the aesthetic, upscale new restaurant for small bites, large plates, and drinks that overlook the museum’s garden. The restaurant has indoor seating as well as outdoor space on its terrace; it is the perfect spot to dine with family or catch up with friends.
Gaze in the gardens
The Pamela and Robert B. Goergen Garden is commonly referred to as “a museum in a garden!” It now displays an expansive lawn, outdoor sculpture collection, smaller gardens, and benches alongside a walking path for guests to enjoy. The museum’s new outdoor sculpture gallery is brimming with abstract works for guests to enjoy. Architects hand-picked native plant and flower species to highlight Florida’s subtropical climate and environment. The beautiful vegetation promotes a flow of light and movement in the garden, but also provides shade to combat the Florida heat. A walk through the lush landscaping is a must if you are visiting the museum.
Art After Dark
Art After Dark is the Norton’s free weekly event on Fridays from 5 to 10 p.m. It fuses culture and entertainment to create programs such as POP Sessions - ”louder and looser” offerings that change every week - and Norton Cinema, which showcases independent films that are rarely presented. The exhibitions, lectures, artistic activities, and performances vary each week, and the Museum’s tasty bar and restaurant are open throughout the night. Be sure to check the Norton’s schedule to stay informed on all of the museum’s happenings.
The Norton Museum of Art’s transformative changes are attracting South Florida residents and tourists alike to witness the incredible fuse of art and culture. Admission is free to the public on Fridays and Saturdays. See you there!
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