Power Plant site not out of picture for art museum


Baltimore Museum of Art director Arnold Lehman said yesterday the museum is "increasingly committed" to building a wing for 20th century art at its Art Museum Drive site, but has not completely given up the idea of a downtown branch at the Power Plant instead.

His comments came in the wake of an announcement earlier this week by David Gillece, acting head of Center City-Inner Harbor Development Inc., that he will not select a developer at this time from the proposals submitted in the fall, of which the museum's was one.

"We can't have both [the Art Museum Drive wing and the Power Plant branch]," said Mr. Lehman. "It's one or the other. We've always given greater weight to our commitment to Art Museum Drive . . . There's a point at which we can no longer consider an alternative, and we're fast approaching that point."

The director said of the Power Plant plan, "Theoretically, it's still hanging out there," and that the museum will continue to "see what aspects of it might be strengthened." But, he said, the museum is finishing up design development on the Art Museum Drive wing now and in the next weeks or months will begin working drawings that can be put out for construction bids. The farther that process goes, he said, "the more likely we'll be in a posture that we're totally committed here."

He also said the museum is asking the state legislature for a $1.1 million bond bill to complete the $7 million financing of the wing, and if the state does not grant the request, "then the project gets delayed."

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