An Old Bank Becomes Harrisburg’s First Art Museum

The bank vault gallery at the Susquehanna Art Museum's new building. Photo: via the Susquehanna Art Museum's Facebook page.
The bank vault gallery at the Susquehanna Art Museum's new building. Photo: via the Susquehanna Art Museum's Facebook page.

Pennsylvania’s capital city finally has an art museum to call its own, reports the Sentinel. The Susquehanna Art Museum opens in a home of its own this week, having previously been an itinerant figure in downtown Harrisburg since its founding in 1989.

The new $7.5 million building adds 20,000 square feet in new construction to the old Keystone Bank Building—one of the galleries used to be the bank vault. In addition to exhibition space, the museum boasts rooms for education programming, as well as a café and gift shop.

“Harry Bertoia: Four Decades of Drawings,” one of the museum’s debut exhibitions, is a fitting choice, given that the Italian-born artist and furniture designer spent the end of his life in eastern Pennsylvania. The show illustrates the interdisciplinary nature of Bertoia’s work through drawings that are reminiscent of his Modernist furniture, such as the Bertoia Diamond Chair. Bertoia’s sculpture has also not been forgotten. His work Bush in Winter (1972), a round bronze bush preparing to bloom in the imminent spring, is displayed in dramatic fashion.

The exhibition appears in the museum’s lobby gallery, which will feature annual three-month-long shows featuring contemporary work from regional artists represented by the Doshi Gallery for Contemporary Art, long a partner of the institution.

The inaugural programming also includes “Pop Open: Icons of Pop Art from Niagara University,” which highlights works from Pop artists in the school’s Castellani Art Museum including Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, and Roy Lichtenstein.

“This collection has never been traveled before,” Laurene Buckley, the museum’s executive director, told Penn Live. “It will give us a very nice opening.”

The Susquehanna Art Museum is open from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, and 12 p.m.–5 p.m. Sunday. Appointments can be made for those wishing to visit on Monday. General admission is $8, with discounted $5 tickets for seniors, veterans, and teachers, and free admission for children under 12. “Harry Bertoia: Four Decades of Drawings” is open through April 12, while “Pop Open: Icons of Pop Art from Niagara University” closes March 1.


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