Museum Renovation and Expansion is Underway - Reimagined. Reinstalled. Reopening.


Groundbreaking! 23

Museum Renovation and Expansion is Underway

Seattle Art Museum executives, joined by City of Seattle leaders, project donors and supporters, and members of the community, gathered on the front terrace of the Seattle Asian Art Museum, Tuesday, March 13, for an official groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of the renovation and expansion of the museum’s landmark building.

Braving blustery winds and the threat of rain, Kimerly Rorschach, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO, addressed the gathered crowd—thanking the numerous individuals and organizations who helped bring the project to fruition and reiterating the need to restore the building, which houses one of the top Asian art collections in the country.

Building campaign co-chairs Mimi Gardner Gates, SAM’s Director Emerita, and Gursharan Sidhu, SAM Trustee; and Michael Shiosaki, Director of Planning and Development at Seattle Parks & Recreation, also spoke to the crowd about the museum’s importance.

Immediately following the remarks—joined by Winnie Stratton, SAM Board of Trustees President, and Stewart Landefeld, SAM Board of Trustees Chair—the group assembled with golden crowbars in hand and ceremonially lifted some stone pavers located on the front terrace of the building.  As part of the project, these pavers will need to be temporarily removed to allow for regrading necessary for ADA accessibility improvements.


After years of design planning and months of preparation, work on the historic building has begun, and will conclude with the anticipated reopening of the museum in fall 2019.

Photos: Natali Wiseman. Video: Brad Curran.