Freeport Art Museum announces new location behind downtown Arts Plaza
FREEPORT – The largest museum in Stephenson County will host over 4,000 works spanning the history of art.
The Freeport Art Museum has been housed in the old Harlem School since 1987. At first, the building built in 1911 had the charm of being the backdrop to the many exhibitions and mini-masterpieces seen by thousands of people. over the years. However, years of disrepair caused the board to seek a new location, as repairs to the existing building would be too costly.
Last week, Jessica Modica, the museum’s executive director, and the board of trustees announced that the future museum house would be located downtown in the old Kunz Brothers building behind the Arts Plaza, which has been a new attraction in downtown Freeport.
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It took years to find a suitable location. At one point, discussions took place to build a new museum on the Arts Plaza site.
“We are delighted to have secured a location for the future of the Freeport Art Museum in a location that we know is ideal for our mission,” said Modica. “The importance of the Freeport Art Museum to community and tourism has never been clearer than it is today. We are excited to prepare this amazing new project, which uses a historic building in the downtown district. FAM will now be located in a highly visible and central part of the city, close to other cultural facilities.
After reviewing several other buildings over the past decade, the site was selected quickly after becoming available earlier this year. The museum’s board of directors recognized the site’s ideal proximity to the Arts Plaza and found the building in excellent condition. Although smaller in square footage, the new location will be able to accommodate exhibitions, classes and special events.
“Being able to have the museum downtown gives a sense of community,” said Liz Foley, museum board member. “This new location gives us a big presence in historic downtown Freeport, close to the Arts Plaza and other tourist spots. It makes the museum more accessible.
Modica said she was excited to secure the new site. The purchase of the building is an important step. The fundraiser will help pay for necessary renovations to the new building, which Modica hopes to be able to move into within two years.
“Fundraising will be in our future and there are a lot of factors in moving, but this new site is more a reality for us than we have had in a long time,” said Modica.
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“The move of the Freeport Art Museum to downtown will anchor the thriving arts corridor on Chicago Avenue, creating a quality venue that fosters a culture of creativity and inclusion as well as a tourist destination,” said Mark Williams, Executive Director of the Greater Freeport Partnership.
Museum operations will continue on Harlem Avenue until renovations are complete. Over the next few months, conceptual drawings will be published and a fundraising campaign will be set up.
“The relocation of the Freeport Art Museum to the historic downtown area will promote foot traffic for businesses and improve the overall area,” said Mayor Jodi Miller. “The new location is a great location close to the library, Debate Square, New Arts Square and many established businesses, and we look forward to seeing the transformation.”
The Freeport Art Museum is located at 121 N. Harlem Ave. The opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday. To find out more, visit freeportartmuseum.com.
Jane Lethlean is a freelance correspondent.