A Great Day for Roanoke: Taubman Museum Opens
November 17, 2008
After years full of anticipation, the Taubman Museum of Art opened with much fanfare a week ago. The project was envisioned over a decade ago, with the architectural team being assembled and working on the project for over eight years. This is a great example of a wild vision becoming a reality in our city with much support from the private sector (businesses and individuals) and some support from the public sector (local, state and federal allocations). It took a visionary team to put it together and see it through and we should all thank those involved.
There was quite a lot of buzz on opening weekend- from discussions about the architecture, the space, the exhibits but perhaps most importantly the City of Roanoke. I kept hearing- “how did Roanoke get so many good things happening here”, and “this is going to jump start Roanoke, Downtown and especially the Market to an all new level”, and “how can I invest in downtown Roanoke”. Even friends from out of town e-mailed: “what’s going on in Roanoke? I keep hearing about all these new projects there”. Whether you are a fan of the building or not (and I think there are very few naysayers now), the project, the interior and the exhibits have to wow you. This was a long adventure for those involved with lots of hurdles (location, design, controversy, money, staffing, operating costs), but the visionary team behind it persevered and successfully brought all the pieces together to completion. This is what teamwork is all about.
I am proud that the City of Roanoke was a very early and significant supporter of this project. While the city has many capital projects on its list- we often face many more hurdles and appropriate scrutiny making it all the harder to complete some projects. We have learned, however, that with private-public partnering around big, feel good projects there is often more success. Center in the Square (including the Harrison Museum of African American Culture and the Science Museum of Western Virginia), a new addition at the YMCA and a possible expansion of Hotel Roanoke are a few such possibilities in our future. Some of this funding was just approved by the city this week.
While opening day for the Taubman Museum of Art was a great day for Roanoke, there is still a lot of work to do. Georgeanne Bingham and her excellent staff now have the keys and know that the hard work of successfully operating the museum and continuing to garner individual support for the museum well into the future has just begun. They are hard at work keeping the wow factor alive with exhibits and an entertaining monthly calendar of events.
This is a great Roanoke Vibe story and here is wishing them the most success well into the future.