That's why she commissioned Gaia, a 24-year-old graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, to create a temporary installation of two large murals pasted up on both sides of a narrow hallway. They depict a two-story rowhouse in Remington.
The other mural represents the artist's updating of Paul Gaugin's 1892 painting "Woman with a Mango." It shows a young woman standing in front of the rowhouse and looking pensively over her shoulder.
The installation, which will be on display through May, represents Gaia's first appearance in a major art museum, and the BMA's first acknowledgment of the growing cultural importance of the spray-painted drawings that decorate abandoned buildings, boxcars and the undersides of bridges.
"I think my commission represents the museum's commitment to the local art scene," Gaia wrote in an email from Indonesia, where he's working on a project.
"Street art has achieved tremendous attention of late, and represents a greater shift in the United States toward urban living. The artwork and projects that I have produced in the streets of Baltimore are part of a greater global movement."
As much as Hileman wants to show the human aspects of contemporary art, Bolger wants to change the nature of the museum-going experience. So, the Contemporary Wing now has a "Big Table" equipped with art supplies that's geared primarily for adults, not children. Visitors can jot a quick sketch, and then display their finished drawings on the wall hooks created for that purpose.
The museum also is unrolling BMA GoMobile, a website that can be accessed from smartphones. (Guests without the devices can check out an iPod Touch.) Through the website, visitors can email themselves images of paintings or sculptures that strike their fancy, put together a personal tour of the museum's holdings on such themes as "Artwork about the Body" or listen to interviews with such artists as Oliver Herring, Thomas Hirschhorn and Joyce Scott.
"We're trying to get people to think of art as an experience," Bolger says.
"It's not just looking, but doing. We want people to walk in and see the faces of people they know on the gallery walls. This is the opening salvo for what a museum can become in the 21st century."
If you go
A free after-hours celebration running 9 p.m. Saturday to midnight features dancing and performance art. The wing officially reopens Sunday, Nov. 18, with live music, an art-inspired fashion show and robotics demonstrations 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 10 Art Museum Drive, Charles Village. artbma.org or 443-573-1700.
Total renovation cost: $24.5 million
Cost of Phase 1 (Contemporary Wing): $6.5 million; includes two new roofs, new gallery lighting and a fire suppression system.
Contemporary Wing closed for renovation: Jan. 17, 2011
Layout: 16 galleries over 16,000 square feet
Highlights: Soundproof black-box gallery for light, sound and video works; new gallery dedicated to works on paper, including drawings by Henri Matisse; two new interactive galleries; a new mobile website, GoMobile, that will let visitors personalize their visit.
Next: Galleries for American and African art and the main lobby have closed and will be renovated; the historic entrance will be reopened.
Expected completion of third phase: In 2014, to celebrate the museum's centennial
Is the project on budget and on schedule? Yes.