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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
Sandy Spring Museum will celebrate the opening of its newly renovated Artist Barn with a ribbon-cutting ceremony April 22.
The 19th century barn was donated to the museum by property developer Lou Iaquinta in 2001. The structure was moved, board by board, to the museum campus and re-erected by volunteers in May 2001.
Over the years, the barn has housed a blacksmith shop on and off, but has primarily been used for storage and was “incredibly underutilized,” said Allison Weiss, museum executive director.
The project to convert the barn into three art studios was grant-funded through the Graham Foundation, State of Maryland and Montgomery County, Weiss said.
The renovations, including insulating the building and installing electricity, water, heating and air conditioning, make the building usable year-round.
Weiss said the structure was preserved to the best of the museum’s ability by leaving the exterior intact and as much of the original interior construction visible.
The studios now house a silversmith, a painter/writer and a mixed-media artist. They each have at least a one-year lease, providing a source of revenue to the museum.
“I see this as completing the museum’s campus,” Weiss said. “When I came here five years ago, there were a lot of vacant spaces, which have since been converted into usable spaces. I see this as a mini Glen Echo — we’ve essentially built a cultural arts community.”
The museum features 11 artists working on site, changing exhibits, live music performances, social dancing, and lectures and workshops. It also houses an artifact and archival collection that is accessible to artists who use it to interpret community history.
The community is invited to the opening of Sandy Spring Museum’s new Artist Barn at 10:30 a.m. April 22. Several elected officials are expected to attend. Tours and light refreshments will begin at 10 a.m. For more information, go to www.SandySpringMuseum.com.
Terri Hogan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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