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Attachment III

Envisioning the Future of The Westmoreland


Summary of Phase of I and II of Expansion Planning

Introduction

Over the past fifteen years, a talented team of professionals have taken the Westmoreland
Museum of American Art from its roots as a good regional museum to a nationally-known
institution recognized for its significant collection of American art, noteworthy temporary
exhibitions, engaging community programs, and intrepid entrepreneurial spirit. It has
become an invaluable community asset with an ever broadening geographic reach and a
diverse audience. Visitors seek out the Museum for the variety and quality of its
exhibitions, its concentration on American art, and its innovative public programming.
Today, the Museum has become a true cultural destination and a substantial component of
the cultural scene of southwestern Pennsylvania. It is poised to expand and build on its
successes.

Expanded facilities are needed to meet our public commitment to effectively present the
growing permanent collection, host popular historical and contemporary changing
exhibitions, and engage our growing audiences in a conversation about American art.
Housing these facilities in a well-conceived, architecturally significant building designed for
today’s museum goers is critical to The Westmoreland’s future.

Marketing Research Survey: Community Perception of The Westmoreland


Surveys of Museum visitors and marketing studies of the general public provide strong
evidence of The Westmoreland’s very positive image in the community.
Visitors Experience at The Westmoreland: Visitors describe the Museum as ‘having a world
class collection of American art.’ The Westmoreland is a place where visitors have a
positive experience, enjoy spending time, and would like to visit more often because of the
quality of the collection and appeal of the temporary exhibitions.

• Nearly half (48%) of visitors surveyed reported having spent one and one half hours or
more in the Museum.
• 85% of Museum visitors reported that they could ‘easily’ or ‘probably’ spend more time
in the Museum if there were additional galleries.
• 92% of visitors ‘very much/extremely’ enjoyed their visit to The Westmoreland; nearly
all visitors are extremely/very likely to return to the Museum within the year.
• The availability of children’s activities increases visit likelihood among those with
children/grandchildren. 91% of visitors with children or grandchildren are ‘much more
likely’ or ‘somewhat more likely’ to visit the Museum because of children’s activities
(scavenger hunts, Discover backpacks, hands-on activities in KidSpace).

Meeting the Community’s Needs: The Westmoreland is an important cultural asset for
southwestern Pennsylvania and has earned a national reputation for the quality of its
programming and collection. Attendance is steadily increasing because visitors are engaged
by the temporary exhibitions as well as impressed with the quality of the permanent
collection. The Westmoreland provides a very positive visitor experience, and nearly all
visitors (85%) “could easily” or “would probably” spend more time at the Museum if there
were additional galleries, public gathering spaces and amenities such as a café as well as
enhanced educational facilities.

Increasing Attendance at The Westmoreland: The surveys and marketing research studies
show The Westmoreland has a strong presence in the community and that visitors believe
the Museum does an excellent job of servicing the community. Visitors view The
Westmoreland as one of the best cultural attractions in the region, and visitation has
steadily increased over the past five years. Additionally, The Westmoreland has
community/family days, art camps, and studio opportunities. Also The Westmoreland has
developed new curriculum-based programs for students. Attendance at educational tours
combined with community tours have nearly doubled in the past five years.

Design Charrette
In the Summer of 2009, The Westmoreland hosted a Visioning Charrette, a process which
invited the community to brainstorm about the Museum’s needs, strengths and
weaknesses, and what the Museum should become moving forward. The stakeholders
involved in this process included funders, Museum members, other cultural and nonprofit
organization leaders, artists, staff and educators.
What We Heard:

Needs and Issues: Strengths:

• More space (galleries for permanent • Recent success of traveling


and traveling collections, gathering exhibitions
spaces, education, administration, • Community partnerships
storage) • International recognition
• Create a presence on Main Street • Innovative and entrepreneurial staff
• Artistic exterior to reflect the interior • Current marketing efforts
• Convenient parking • Land, building, and permanent
• Enhance children and educational collection
programs • Dedicated and engaged Board
• Rotate permanent collection galleries • Collection of American Art and
more often future collections to be acquired
• Provide other reasons to visit (café) • The mission is strong
• Way to engage the next generation • Past fundraising successes
• Breathing space/contemplative • Expanding potential market
spaces • Interest in American Art
• Inside/outside connection

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Weaknesses:

• Geographically challenged
• Small Endowment (constantly raising
money)
• Current economic climate for
fundraising
• “If we build it, will they come?”
question
• Inefficient and inadequate current
space for programs, staff and staging
exhibits
• Visibility on Main Street
• Negative perception of parking
availability

Themes and Design Principles

Themes related to Image, Collection, Building, Site and Program emerged from the
discussions. The themes were then organized around a series of design principles to guide
the design team which included architects, landscape architects, and illustrators, in
preparing the physical solutions for the building and site and response to ideas generated
during the charrette process.

• Maintain the museum as the premier place for American art


• Respect the existing building’s character while providing a new, dynamic image
• Keep the galleries intimate
• Need something that says art, but art should not be overshadowed by the building
• Must be something on the inside to draw people in, along with intriguing building
• Is there an option for partnering with the middle school?
• Public gathering places – indoors and out

Realizing the Vision of The Westmoreland

The planned expansion of The Westmoreland will:


• Provide the opportunity to rotate and place on exhibition more of our world-class
collection, facilitating a fresher visitor experience and encouraging greater repeat
visitation along with visitation from an even more expanded geographic reach.
• Facilitate increased educational programming for all ages along with greater
opportunities for community outreach.
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• Establish a street presence to improve the visibility of the Museum, enhancing
awareness to draw people into the Museum and it’s grounds; making The
Westmoreland a public gathering space for all.

Feasibility Study: Support for the Expansion


Surveys show that the public places a very high value on having art museums in their
community (86% in Westmoreland County and 91% in Allegheny County). Additionally, the
vast majority of frequent visitors agree that The Westmoreland is ‘an organization they are
very eager to support.’
The majority of the Funders, Trustees, Community Leaders, and Donors surveyed in the
Feasibility Study said they support the expansion plans and believe the Museum should
move ahead with the campaign.

80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
Support for the Campaign is $27 million goal
case important/very is achievable
important

Uncommitted respondents (between 20 – 28%)were positive about the plans, but needed
more information to commit their support to a campaign. Comments and caveats regarding
support for the case included the need for a substantial lead gift; the impact of the
economic downturn (although the majority consensus was that things were turning
around); the Museum’s ability to demonstrate increasing audience demand and economic
impact on the community. The small percentage of respondents that did not support the
campaign indicated that it was not a priority in their grantmaking.

The Campaign for The Westmoreland


The recommendations from the Feasibility Study were approved by the Board at its
December 2009 meeting. The Westmoreland will move forward with the campaign once a
significant leadership gift is secured.

Major funders, as shown in the chart below, have indicated strong support. Based on the
interviews, the cumulative total available from key funders for this campaign ranges from a
confident $13 million to a best estimate of $23.5 million to an ambitious estimate of $30
million. These figures represent only key individual and foundation donors and do not

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include many other foundations (smaller family foundations and national foundations),
public funding, or smaller individual donations that would be part of the public phase of the
campaign.

With a leadership gift of $10,000,000 The Westmoreland can meet the ambitious goal of
$30,000,000, ensuring its future as a nationally-recognized destination for American art.

Funders
$35 $30.0
$30
$23.5
$25
$20
Millions

$15
$13.0
$10
$5
$0
Confident Achieva ble Ambitious

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