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Multnomah Arts Center Gallery gets an upgrade

by: SUBMITTERD HOTO: ARLENE DAVIS - The newly renovated Multnomah Arts Center Gallery.

MULTNOMAH — Renovations were recently completed on Portland Parks & Recreation’s Multnomah Arts Center Gallery.

“There was a minor remodel probably 15 years ago, and then this was a major renovation that I hope will last a very long time,” said Michael Walsh, Multnomah Arts Center executive director.

SERA Architects, Mortenson Construction and Cascade Acoustics donated $118,300 worth of design, labor and in-kind materials over 1,200 hours, with additional support provided by Rosendin Electric, Fine Painting, Performance Abatement Services, Temp Control Mechanical, Viking Automatic Sprinklers, KPFF Structural and Civil Engineering, PAE Consulting Engineering, Solus Lighting, and Northern Illumination Company.

“Things like drapes that Mortenson paid for … I expected we would have to find the funds for,” Walsh said. “Every little thing, there’s a story behind, and that’s just a really great story about support.”

On top of that, more than 100 community members have donated funds exceeding $10,500.

The new MAC Gallery can also count itself sustainable; it has converted to LED lights and advanced dimming controls, reducing energy usage by more than 50 percent.

This new lighting concept will also provide “far better quality and adaptability to different art media,” Walsh said in a press release.

On top of that, he said, “The gallery display systems are much more discrete and highlight the artwork … at a much higher quality.”

Planning for the renovation started in August 2012, with demo work beginning the following June and actual construction finishing up two months later.

Walsh said there is still some money designated for gallery renovations in the budget of the Multnomah Arts Center Association, the nonprofit group supporting MAC — and over time, those reserves will be used to add additional improvements to the newly renovated gallery.

“In a perfect world we would have these things,” he said, “”and it looks like we actually are going to have them for this particular project.”

This will likely include installing state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, and, “Down the road … we might, once a year, make available … part of the gallery hall for submissions to have installation, not just traditional, for-sale art that would be 2-D or 3-D,” Walsh explained. “We’d like to actually be able to have interactive environments — the 21st century gallery.”