New Perspectives Capital Campaign
In 2018, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) embarked upon its first major renovation in more than 20 years: the New Perspectives Capital Campaign. The five-year Campaign enables a series of critical facility improvements to make the Museum more accessible, innovative, and impactful within an already inspiring community of cultural destinations.
Capital improvements are being completed in three phases:
- Phase I addressed the urgent need for professional administrative office space.
- Phase II addressed external and internal renovations and infrastructure improvements enhancing visibility, expanding exhibition and public gathering space, and improving public and staff safety.
- Phase III will lay the foundation for future growth and expansion. Phase I and Phase II have been completed, with Phase III projects scheduled to begin in 2023.
Read below for more detail on each of the phases.
Since 1948, CAMH has served as an invaluable platform for contemporary art and cultural engagement. The Museum offers free admission to all exhibitions, programs and tours; and as the only museum of its size focused solely on contemporary art in Houston, CAMH is a vital community hub that directly connects artists and audiences through catalytic and unexpected experiences of contemporary art. Without a permanent collection, the Museum presents exhibitions of not only established artists, but also underrepresented and emerging artists, often offering a first look at the art of tomorrow’s history books.
The goal of Phase I was to obtain and build out attractive, functional office space for the Museum’s administrative staff. This phase was completed in February 2019 when CAMH’s administrative staff moved to new offices just a block away from the Museum. Moving the administrative offices out of the converted house that had served as office space for 22 years accomplished two important objectives:
- providing a healthier and more professional environment for staff; and
- improving infrastructure to support technology needs and creative collaborations.
The Phase II projects included the redesign and transformation of the Eleanor and Frank Freed Garden to create an expansive, inviting plaza suitable for outdoor events, programs, and exhibitions—thus increasing CAMH’s usable exhibition and event space. A dynamic new exterior lighting system that showcases CAMH’s iconic Gunnar Birkerts building enhances the Museum’s visibility, grants flexibility in hosting outdoor presentations, and has increased the safety of visitors and staff. New exterior signage improves wayfinding for visitors to Houston’s Museum District and draws visitors to explore CAMH. The Museum was also able to make long-needed upgrades and renovations to the interior galleries, including updating the electrical, replacing the 40+ year old gallery floors, replacing cracked window panes, and installing updated LED lighting—all core aspects of the Museum experience that were decades old. The effect has been extraordinary, revealing architectural details of the iconic building that had not been seen in decades.
Additionally, Phase II included projects that improved key infrastructure. The Museum’s stormwater drainage system, driveway, and loading dock have been reinforced, stabilized, and repaired to ensure exhibitions can arrive and depart safely and securely. These types of infrastructure repairs seldom receive the recognition they are due for their importance; however, they mean a great deal to the artists, galleries, and lenders who entrust CAMH with their precious work. As a non-collecting institution, every work CAMH handles is owned by someone else—our reputation for care and respect of the work is paramount to our success.
With the first two phases of the New Perspectives Capital Campaign complete, CAMH is preparing to commence with the third and final phase of the project, which will extend through the other end of the campus to create space for more community-oriented projects and installations beyond our regular exhibition programming, provide much-needed parking and storage, and strongly position CAMH for long-term growth.
Status: IN PROGRESS
CAMH is scheduled to begin the third and final phase of the Campaign in 2023. These final projects will be centered on the West and South ends of the campus, with a focus on providing an additional, flexible programming and gathering space, clearing an existing lot for future parking and programming space, and seeding a maintenance and preparedness fund for future maintenance and emergency facility needs.
Most importantly, New Perspectives will implement a Master campus plan for the Museum spanning the next 3–5 years. This includes a possible land acquisition, additional exhibition space, dedicated program space, and temporary and permanent artist activations.
CAMH has exceeded $3.6 million in funds raised for the Campaign, and is prepared to step boldly into the future while preserving its iconic footprint and commitment to making contemporary art accessible to all.
The New Perspectives Capital Campaign is made possible by our committed donors. We honor these individuals, and foundations who dedicate to the Museum’s mission: presenting extraordinary, thought-provoking arts programming and exhibitions to educate and inspire audiences nationally and internationally.
CAMH’s continued growth and success are made possible by supporters like you. Learn more about how you can support the Campaign through the link below.
Houston Endowment, Inc.
The Brown Foundation, Inc.
The Cullen Foundation
The Wortham Foundation, Inc.
Eddie and Chinhui Allen
Barbara and Michael Gamson
The Green Tree Fund
Sissy and Denny Kempner
M.D. Anderson Foundation
Beverly and Howard Robinson
Texas Commission on the Arts
The Elkins Foundation
Dillon A. Kyle and Sam L. Lasseter
Leigh and Reggie Smith
Ruth Dreessen and Tom Van Laan
George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation
Truist Bank / Bill and Courtney Toomey
Allison and David Ayers
Candace Baggett and Ronald Restrepo
Vera and Andy Baker
Kimberly and James Bell /
— The Bell and Dewar Families
Liz and Steve Crowell
The Garden Club of Houston
Blakely and Trey Griggs
Melissa and Albert J. Grobmyer, IV
Leslie B. Hull, in Honor of
— Carol Chiles Ballard
Kerry Inman and Denby Auble
Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund
Bryn K. Larsen
Catherine and George Masterson
Elisabeth and Brian McCabe
Karen and Mac McManus
Elisa and Cris Pye
Candace Baggett and Ron Restrepo
Margaret Vaughan Cox and Jonathan Cox
Haydeh and Ali Davoudi
Erica and Benjy Levit
Lucinda and Javier Loya
Mark and Maryann Miller
Cabrina and Steven Owsley
Kelly and Nicholas Silvers
Marion and David P. Young
Liz and David Anders
Brenda Liebling-Goldberg and William J. Goldberg
Janita and Garney Griggs
Jay Shinn and Tim Hurst
UBS Financial Services
Elizabeth and Barry Young
Dillon A. Kyle Architects
Hendricks Engineers, Inc.
Wilson Cribbs & Goren
“FRESH PERSPECTIVE.” Modern Luxury | Houston Magazine, January/February, 2020.
Blay, Christopher. “Contemporary Arts Museum Houston Announces Capital Campaign; First in 20 Years.” Glasstire, July 30, 2019.
“Contemporary Arts Museum Houston announces new Perspectives Capital Campaign.” artdaily, July 30, 2019.