November 2, 2001

New Mexican Museum Building In San Francisco

At at groundbreaking ceremony on October 25th, Executive Director, Lorraine García-Nakata stated, "The new building allows us to attain a long-held dream: to provide a meaningful voice for our community and a home for that voice which is as grand and meaningful as its message".

Aside from the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony, performed by García-Nakata; Board of Trustees Chairman, Agustín Rosas-Maxemín; Scholar, Guadalupe Rivera-Marín; and Architect Ricardo Legorreta, there was also the Ohlone singers, and Danzantes performing Aztec dancing as a blessing for the site.

The 63,000 square foot facility, to be built on the north side of Mission Street between Third and Fourth Streets, will house one of the most extensive collections of Mexican and Mexican-American art in the United States, ranging from pre-conquest to contemporary Chicano & Latino art. The Museum is currently expanding its collection to include artwork from all of the Americas.

The new building will cost $34 million, of which $22.5 million has already been raised. On October 25, García-Nakata will be announcing the Public Phase of the Museum's Capital and Endowment Campaign, chaired by scholar Guadalupe Rivera-Marin. In accepting the position, Ms. Rivera-Marín commented, "The Mexican Museum is well positioned to be an important place for the understanding and presentation of art forms, both new and ancient."

Born and raised in Mexico City, Ricardo Legorreta has designed and taught architecture all over the world. Internationally renowned for his earthy designs and use of bold colors, his work in the Bay Area is represented by the Children's Discovery Museum and the Tech Museum of Innovation, both in San Jose. Legorreta is a recent Pritzker-prize winner and the only Latin American to be awarded the American Institute of Architect's Gold Medal.

"My firm, Legorreta Arqui-tectos, has devoted its life to the study of Mexican culture and translating it into contemporary architecture," writes Legorreta. "[We have] designed a building that will represent Mexico in San Francisco at its highest levels of art, culture and human exchange".

Founded in 1975 by artist Peter Rodriguez, The Mexican Museum first opened in a storefront space located in San Francisco's Mission District and moved to its present site at Fort Mason Center in 1982. Since its beginnings, the Museum has presented over 150 exhibitions and amassed a permanent collection of over 10,000 artifacts. Its new permanent home in the flourishing Yerba Buena Neighborhood will allow the institution to expand its role as a visionary cultural and educational center and fulfill a long-held dream of the many artists, members, trustees, and staff who have been associated with the museum over the past 26 years.

Coinciding with the ground-breaking ceremony, The Mexican Museum launched its website at http://www.mexicanmuseum.org.

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