Synopsis: Small arts organizations further artistic and educational opportunities for adults and youth in local communities. The LexArt renovation/expansion shows how a visionary board can create an effective public face for an arts group on a tight budget. Creative collaboration yields flexible yet attractive results.
Detailed Description: The Lexington Arts and Crafts Society (LexArt), a well-supported organization outside of Lexington’s historic town center, provides studio space and instruction in many media types: painting, ceramics, woodworking, etc. The current facility, first built in 1953, has gone through many additions and transformations. The original street-facing structure provides a 2,000 SF public gallery that exhibits members’ work and displays curated exhibits, thematic installations, and works by featured artists. As the popularity of the exhibits has grown, so has the need for a more flexible gallery space that can accommodate the rich array of exhibit types and offer excellent lighting in an inspiring setting.
To that end, the LexArt Board raised funds to improve the gallery building. PLA was hired to help the board review and finalize the proposal and develop several viable design and construction strategies for it. In parallel, contractors were interviewed, and bids were provided, yielding a local, well-reputed builder (JWC). A final design that worked within the tight budget and construction constraints was developed in collaboration with the board, contractor, and design/engineering team.
The design provides a simple but elegant space. The ceiling is shaped to create an open, airy spatial feeling. Lighting is integrated with ceiling profiles to optimize flexibility for exhibits while subtly integrating the fixtures as unobtrusively as possible. Wall space and storage are maximized, and a small retail “wall” and reception desk on rollers allows for flexible programming opportunities.
Flexible gallery space that can accommodate the rich array of exhibit types and offer excellent lighting in an inspiring setting.