Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has granted the Philadelphia Museum of Art $5 million toward its massive building renovation project, as an economic growth investment.
The grant comes from the Commonwealth’s Economic Growth Initiative, a fund that has shrunk from a fat $4 billion in 2010 to a much leaner $133 million in 2012. Corbett reduced the fund and made it more targeted toward job creation.
In about 18 months, the Philadelphia Art Museum will begin a multi-phase project to update, overhaul, and expand its building on the Parkway, which will ultimately costs hundreds of millions of dollars.
Board chair Constance Williams says the Museum generates four dollars to the economy for every dollar spent in the building.
“You know, if you look at something like the [exhibition] ‘Van Gogh: Up Close’ last year, it generated about $48 million for the economy,” said Williams. “We are one of the economic engines, plus we are so much more than that.”
The Museum now features an exhibition of plans by architect Frank Gehry of new gallery spaces to be dug underneath the building. Williams says that is years from reality. The first thing to do – the core project – is update mechanical systems and rebuild the existing interior.