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City of Peoria Press Release



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Peoria Celebrates Opening of City Hall Art Museum

Smithsonian Exhibit of Grand Canyon Photography Will Kick Off Jan. 22

1/6/2011

PEORIA, Ariz. (Jan. 6, 2011) – Peoria is giving people another great reason to visit the municipal campus with the opening of an art museum in City Hall.

The city will celebrate the museum’s grand opening at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22.

The Peoria Art Museum’s inaugural exhibit will be the Smithsonian Institution’s “Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography.” It comprises 60 works by well-known photographers, including Jack Dykinga, Michael Collier, Mike Buchheit, James Cowlin and Sue Bennett. The exhibit features images of early photographers dangling from cables with their cumbersome equipment balanced on their shoulders, as well as more-modern images that are bold and dramatic, featuring the canyon’s startling natural beauty.

“The museum is a prime example of Peoria’s commitment to the arts,” according to City Manager Carl Swenson. “It will enhance the city’s reputation as an up-and-coming cultural destination in the West Valley.” He also said the timing goes well with Arizona Centennial events the city has in the works.

Following a period of renovations, Peoria is dedicating first-floor space in the east wing of City Hall to the museum. City officials are working on a two-year exhibit plan that will include both local and state artists. The plan also will include showing pieces from the West Valley Art Museum, which recently relocated to Peoria. The first year will focus mainly on exhibits related to Arizona and its upcoming Centennial in 2012.

The grand opening will include remarks from city leaders, music by local high school students and a light breakfast. Peoria City Hall is at 8401 W. Monroe St. in Oldtown.

Deputy City Manager Susan Daluddung believes the museum and other projects in Oldtown will help strengthen the desirability of the area for new businesses. “With our two forthcoming downtown parks – Osuna and Centennial Plaza – and the 84th Avenue Streetscape project, the area is becoming more attractive,” she said. “An art museum will add a good dash of culture.”

The goal of the space is to bring art opportunities into the daily lives of residents. Additional exhibition space is being identified in other city buildings to further increase awareness of the arts. These components were identified in the city’s Arts Master Plan, completed in 2009.

The Smithsonian exhibit will run through April 17. Hours will be Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.; and by appointment. Admission will be free.