The Transformative Project Receives Lead Funding From Zemurray Foundation

NEW ORLEANS, LA – Marking the city of New Orleans’ Tricentennial in 2018, the Zemurray Foundation has generously provided the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) with a gift to support a renovation of the museum’s auditorium complex. Planning for the project is expected to be underway in 2018, with construction anticipated to begin in 2019.

NOMA is committed to being an integral part of New Orleans’ renaissance by serving as a multi-faceted cultural convener for all audiences, and providing programming for visitors with diverse backgrounds and differing expectations. Built in the 1970s, a renovation of the auditorium complex is key to the museum’s ability to fully realize this ambition. The project will create a flat floor, modern space with surround sound and theatrical lighting. Flexible and contemporary, the space will serve in multiple capacities, from theater in the round to a banquet space, lecture hall, and more. The renovation will allow for seating for up to 360 people, an increase from the current theater, which seats 220, providing NOMA with a state-of-the-art platform for interdisciplinary arts experiences. It will also connect the current auditorium more effectively with adjacent spaces.

“This undertaking will be truly transformative for both the museum, and the city of New Orleans,” said Susan Taylor, Montine McDaniel Freeman Director of NOMA. “NOMA will be able to provide our community with a flexible, 21st century auditorium space, allowing us to expand our diverse offerings. We thank the Zemurray Foundation for supporting this endeavor in celebration of New Orleans’ Tricentennial.”

The Zemurray Foundation’s significant contribution to this effort is the latest in a long line of generous gifts from the organization, dating back nearly 60 years. The foundation has supported everything from capital projects, to conservation and acquisition efforts, to funding curatorial positions and exhibitions. Notably, in 2017, NOMA created the Zemurray Fund for Curatorial and Scholarly Advancement, an endowment that supports research by the Doris Zemurray Stone Curatorial Fellow, and advances scholarship on topics related to NOMA's permanent collection. The fund supports the research activity of emerging scholars and adjunct curators, with a special focus on collaborations with local and regional institutions of higher education.

“Recognizing the importance of the museum for the City of New Orleans, the Foundation wanted to mark the City’s Tricentennial with a commemorative gift that would contribute to the improvement of the Museum’s facilities in accordance with its own plans, and support the vision of its current executive staff,” said Stephanie Feoli, board member of the Zemurray Foundation, and Vice President of the board of trustees at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

About NOMA and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden The New Orleans Museum of Art, founded in 1910 by Isaac Delgado, houses nearly 40,000 art objects encompassing 5,000 years of world art. Works from the permanent collection, along with continuously changing special exhibitions, are on view in the museum's 46 galleries Fridays from 10 AM to 9 PM; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10 AM to 6 PM; Saturdays from 10 AM to 5 PM and Sundays from 11 AM to 5 PM. NOMA offers docent-guided tours at 1 PM every Tuesday - Sunday. The adjoining Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden features work by over 60 artists, including several of the 20th century's master sculptors. The Sculpture Garden is open seven days a week: 9 AM to 6 PM. The New Orleans Museum of Art and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden are fully accessible to handicapped visitors and wheelchairs are available from the front desk. For more information about NOMA, call (504) 658-4100 or visit Wednesdays are free admission days for Louisiana residents, courtesy of The Helis Foundation. Teenagers (ages 13-19) receive free admission every day through the end of the year, courtesy of The Helis Foundation.


Contact: Margaux Krane
(504) 658-4106