Wight & Company designs $3 million expansion to Cleve Carney Art Museum at College of DuPage

Cleve Carney Art Museum

Chicago-based integrated design and delivery firm Wight & Company says it has designed an expansion to the existing Cleve Carney Art Gallery at the College of DuPage in Glyn Ellyn, to accommodate the upcoming Frida Kahlo 2020 exhibition, the largest show of the artist’s work in the Chicago area in more than four decades.

The gallery, which was originally designed by Wight & Company in 2015, will be renamed the Cleve Carney Art Museum to reflect its new space and museum-quality mechanical systems.

“Being a part of this project to expand and upgrade the Cleve Carney facility at the College of DuPage is especially satisfying, given our history with the building,” said Kevin Havens, executive vice-president, director of design. “It required us to reimagine our own original design to create a space where the college could accommodate larger and higher-value collections, like the Frida Kahlo exhibit, as well as consider what could be done with the exterior to draw in more visitors.”

The $3 million project makes changes to the space that address the environmental and capacity requirements to transition it from a gallery to a museum. An additional 1,000 sq. ft. will accommodate increased visitor traffic, while advanced mechanical systems align with the American Alliance of Museums standards by maintaining constant temperatures and precise humidity levels to protect the works, providing increased security and incorporating museum-grade LED lighting.

In addition, the designers transformed the building’s exterior by sheathing it in folded metal panels to give the illusion of curtains being pulled back to reveal the corner, which now has an outdoor LCD digital display. The new facade will enable the museum to promote upcoming shows with both still imagery and video clips, creating a dynamic visual for visitors approaching the museum.

“This transition from a gallery to a museum was a key factor in securing the Frida Kahlo 2020 exhibition and will create many more opportunities to expand visual arts offerings at the College of DuPage,” said Diana Martinez, director of the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage. “Because of its previous work on our arts facilities, Wight & Company offered a unique vision for the space that helped us achieve our goal of elevating our status as an arts destination.”

The Cleve Carney Art Museum (formerly Art Gallery) is part of the College of DuPage McAninch Arts Center, which, along with several other buildings throughout the campus, was also designed by Wight & Company.

The original 1,850-sq. ft. structure was named for philanthropist Cleve Carney, a contemporary art collector who, in addition to providing the legacy gift to establish the gallery, donated several works from his own collection to the college.

The Cleve Carney Museum is the latest of several noteworthy museum designs by Wight & Company. Others feature the design work of Chicago architect Dirk Lohan, now a design principal at Wight. Some of his exhibition projects include the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in Evanston; the proposed National Gospel Museum in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago; and consultation on the National Gallery in Berlin.


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