The Minnesota Museum of American Art, which received $6 million from the huge state bonding bill last week, plans to break ground this summer on the $12.5 million construction of an expanded, permanent home in Downtown St. Paul’s Historic Pioneer Endicott complex.

The new “M,” as the museum is dubbed, will open in 2018 and include a state-of-the-art gallery, community gathering spaces, and a sculpture court over which visitors will find a “sky bridge”-skyway access into the museum.

“This is our opportunity to imagine and build a museum from the ground up that has the values of a 21st-century museum at its core—accessibility for all, intergenerational learning and community exchange, support of living artists, and responsible stewardship of a great collection for generations to come,” says Executive Director Kristin Makholm said in a prepared statement. “This is the time both to honor the legacy of this historic St. Paul treasure and to break ground with new communities and new audiences throughout the metro, the region, and the state.”

Rich Pakonen, president of PAK Properties and one of the owners of the Pioneer Endicott, said the rebuilt M will be a great addition the mix of commercial and residential spaces in the born-again two-building complex.

“How cool is it to have an art museum in the same building with beautiful apartments and appealing businesses, all of it so easily accessible by skyway?” Pakonen said.

The M has maintained a gallery in the Pioneer Endicott since 2013, as museum leadership sought a permanent home for a collection of 4,500 works by American Masters such as Thomas Hart Benton, Louise Nevelson, Julie Buffalohead, Xavier Tavera, Wing Young Huie and Pao Houa Her.

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