Kirkland Museum to relocate to Denver museum district

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Photo: Kirkland Museum Conceptual Design
Conceptual design for the new Kirkland Museum of Art and Design facilities, created by Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects.

Founding director and curator Hugh Grant says the new location will give the Kirkland more exposure to people visiting the area’s other museums.

"The greater visibility and convenience to visitors will be much better in the Golden Triangle (district)," he says.

The new home will be twice the size of the current building and make more room for the museum’s three distinct collections. The museum has a permanent retrospective of artist Vance Kirkland, who died in 1981 and is considered one of Colorado’s most distinguished modern painters.

The Kirkland also houses a collection of international decorative arts and the largest repository of Colorado art, both of which have grown substiantially since the museum opened to the public in 2003.

"You’ll see this extraordinary progression that I don’t have room to do in current musem," Grant says.

The museum also plans to move Kirkland's studio, where the artist began working in 1929.

"It has a charm and it's part of our history," Grant says. "Having the estate of Kirkland and having his studio as well seems quite important to us."

After relocating the original studio, the Kirkland hopes to keep its current building at 13th Avenue and Pearl Street for private showings.

The new facility, designed by Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects, will maintain the museum's unusual "salon-style" of display with decorative and artistic pieces grouped together by theme or period.

The seven lots the new facility will occupy on 12th and Bannock Streets cost $4.395 million. Construction is estimated to cost tens of millions of dollars and will be privately funded by the Chambers Family Fund. Building will start next year and should be completed by 2017.