Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Laguna Art Museum ponders move

April 07, 2005|Mike Boehm | Times Staff Writer

Pressed for exhibition space and devoid of parking in its picturesque but cramped location on a beachside bluff, the Laguna Art Museum is trying to determine whether a move slightly inland into nearby Laguna Canyon might be feasible.

At museum leaders' request, the City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the concept of the museum becoming part of the city's planned Village Entrance project, a $20-million bid to make the city's main arts district look more inviting and alleviate downtown Laguna's summer parking crunch.

The main feature of the Village Entrance is a 590-space parking garage on what is now the city's public works yard. For the museum to enter the picture, it would have to be adjoined to the garage, council member Toni Iseman said Wednesday. "I can see a cantilevered wraparound," she suggested.

For now, museum officials say, they're just trying to wrap their minds around the concept. They have no design proposal for the garage site and, at present, no strategy for raising the money. Igal Silber, president of the museum's board, said he expected to form an ad hoc committee next month to look into whether a museum building could harmonize architecturally with the parking structure, whether other downtown parcels might be available and what might be done about raising the millions of dollars needed to carry out a relocation, including whether to sell the current, 1929-vintage museum building.

Such a relocation would put the Laguna Art Museum in walking distance of the city's other main arts attractions: the Laguna Playhouse, the Festival of Arts, the Art Institute of Southern California and two commercial summer festivals.

The Village Entrance project has been discussed for years; a formal plan was first adopted by a city task force in 1995. It had become stalled in debate over the details of moving the city's public works operation out of downtown to a vacant lot about a mile to the east on Laguna Canyon Road. Those issues have been resolved, Iseman said, and she hopes the $6-million relocation of the city yard can proceed in the fall -- opening the way for the garage and downtown aesthetic improvements to be funded by a bond issue backed by parking revenue.

"If we're going to investigate [moving] downtown, we've got to investigate it now," Laguna Art Museum Director Bolton Colburn said. Colburn said the museum, which has a $1.5-million budget and typically draws 50,000 visitors a year, has a list of possible expansion moves it could make at the current site, but those would not solve the principal problem, creating new space to display more of the 5,000 works in its collection.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|