After months of revamping and reinstalling its collection, the N.C. Museum of Art will mark the reopening of its galleries with a series of events Thursday through Sunday, many of them free.
The museum will open at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, offering visitors the first glimpse of its new approach to interpreting and presenting art. Since the West Building closed May 29, all but one of the objects in the collection have been reinstalled, joined by several new acquisitions and commissions and pieces on loan from museums across North Carolina and beyond.
Museum curators hope to more fully engage visitors by relying less on the traditional grouping of art works by geography or time period. They’ve created five new themed galleries meant to highlight different art forms and certain aspects of history and culture.
Several galleries will also have the museum’s first interactive digital labels, in English and Spanish, that will allow visitors to get additional information about the work they’re seeing in person.
The museum has rechristened its exhibits as The People’s Collection, a term it began using to refer to the museum’s history as a public institution. The changes at the museum come 75 years after state lawmakers first set aside money to begin buying art for a museum that eventually opened in downtown Raleigh in 1956.
Coinciding with the reopening of the West Building is a new show of works by well-known European artists from The Phillips Collection, a private museum of modern art in Washington, D.C. Featuring paintings by Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and others, the show will be free Oct. 8 and 9 but will require paid admission for the rest of its run in the East Building through Jan. 22.
Tickets to “A Modern Vision: Masterworks from The Phillips Collection” will be available at the front desk of the East Building each day on a first-come, first-served basis and are limited by the gallery’s capacity.
Reopening weekend events
Here’s what else the museum has planned:
▪ Member preview day: The museum will be open only to members from noon to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6.
▪ NC Artists Party: Live music, dancing, hors d’oeuvres, desserts and cocktails in Gipson Plaza in front of the museum buildings, from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7. Tickets are $100 for members, $125 for non-members. Information and tickets at bit.ly/3rannd4
▪ Artist-led tours. Artists from across the state will share their personal connections to three to five works of art that inspire them to create. Every hour Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 8 and 9, starting at 10:30 a.m.
▪ Live music, poetry and dance in the galleries. Oct. 8, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For a schedule, go to bit.ly/3S5mq1o.
▪ Monster Drawing Rally. Watch artists create fresh art you can buy for a $50 donation. Oct. 8, 1 to 5 p.m. Artists change on the hour, and the first hour is dedicated to artists age 14 and under. Proceeds to support the museum.
▪ Kuumba Community Drum Lab with djembe drum instructor Robert J. Corbitt III. Oct. 8, noon to 1 p.m. for adults and 1 to 2 p.m. for youth and young adults. A 50-minute class designed to cultivate your comfort on the djembe and dundun as well as expand your knowledge of African-originated rhythms and tempos.
▪ Workshop with Jaki Shelton Green. The North Carolina Poet Laureate will lead a two-hour workshop designed to show how to use art as a springboard for poems, stories and memoirs. Oct. 8, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free with registration at bit.ly/3r9kYzj.
▪ Music at the Museum Festival. Performances in the Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Theater, the museum’s outdoor amphitheater. Oct. 8 from 4:30 to 11 p.m. Featuring ¡Tumbao!, Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba, Lakota John, Rissi Palmer and Chatham County Line. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are free with registration at bit.ly/3dfXLbD.
▪ Performance by artist Stacey L. Kirby. Oct. 9, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kirby shares staff and visitor perspectives about the past, present and future of the art museum that she collected over the summer.
▪ Elizabeth Alexander performance. Dancers create a moving piece of art calling on themes reflected in Alexander’s new installation “and you did not even know enough to be sorry.” Oct. 9, noon to 2 p.m.
▪ Artist-in-residence. Meet JP Jermaine Powell, the museum’s current artist-in-residence, to learn about his work at the museum and his murals and public art across the state. Oct. 9, 11 a.m. to noon.
How to go
The N.C. Museum of Art is at 2110 Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh. For more information, go to ncartmuseum.org/peoplescollection or call 919-715-5923.