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MOCAD launches $15M renovation campaign

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The Midtown museum is going to get a “top-to-bottom transformation”

An image of a long one-story building with red and black paint. There’s a geometrical awning over the entrance with “MOCAD” printed on it.
Rendering of the new entrance to MOCAD, which will include a canopy.
Ply+ Architecture

The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) in Midtown is going to get a major facelift.

The Detroit Free Press reports that at its annual gala and benefit art auction on October 13, the museum will launch a $15-million campaign to fund a “top-to-bottom transformation.” The capital improvements are intended to create a “campus-like” setting for events and everyday visitors.

Some of the initial designs include revamping the outdoor space to add landscaping, a plaza, and a permanent stage for concerts that will all be connected to Mike Kelley’s “Mobile Homestead,” one of the museum’s signature exhibitions. There are also plans for a restaurant in the current cafe space.

A floor-to-ceiling window facing Woodward Avenue will replace the brick facade to allow passersby to see inside. A heating and cooling system that uses natural ventilation will also be installed.

Principal design is being done by Ann Arbor–based Ply+ Architecture.

Overhead view of a parking lot with yellow and gray strikes indicating parking and wayfinding. There’s a low, rectangular building with a white roof next door.
Aerial View show the museum’s new campus, including a new outdoor plaza.
Ply+ Architecture

“This campaign, what this vision does, is really gets us to be more than an art museum,” MOCAD executive director Elysia Borowy-Reeder told the Free Press. “We’re a cultural center.”

The campaign has already gotten an early boost from the Taubman and Reyes Family foundations, which will provide a $5 million matching grant. The building’s new facade will likely include the name of MOCAD’s co-founder: “MOCAD at the Julie Reyes Taubman Building.”

It’s currently slated for a 2021 completion date.

MOCAD opened in 22,000-square-foot, Albert Kahn–designed former Cadillac dealership in 2006. The building was originally owned by philanthropist Richard Manoogian, but was gifted to the museum in 2013.