Corning Museum: new wing ready to open

Ten years of work, including three years of heavy construction, and now the new wing of the Corning Museum of Glass will finally be unveiled this week. The celebration will include speakers such as Wendell Weeks, chairman and CEO of Corning Inc., while the architect of the two centrepieces of the expansion – Tom Phifer – will also be present.

After a project that was a decade in the making – including three years of heavy construction – the Corning Museum of Glass finally gets to unveil its USD 64 million expansion on Friday morning. Opening weekend begins with a ribbon-cutting at 10 a.m. Friday in the main lobby, open to the public.
Speakers present will include Wendell Weeks, chairman and CEO of Corning Inc., which has been the museum’s major benefactor since it opened in 1951 – and is funding the expansion.
Also present will be New York City architect Tom Phifer, who designed the two centrepieces of the expansion: the 26,000-square-foot Contemporary Art and Design Wing, where many of the large-scale modern sculptures have been installed; and a 500-seat amphitheatre for hot glass shows.
The new galleries – five ringed by an outer promenade – have curving white walls, and the building is encased in white glass and lit by skylights. The adjacent hot glass theatre, built out of the historic Steuben Glass factory, is black steel and industrial.
After the ribbon cutting, visitors can walk into the new galleries for the first time.
“It’s a real dream come true,” said Tina Oldknow, CMoG’s curator of modern glass. “I think people will be surprised to see what’s basically a small contemporary art museum in Corning, New York.”
“The building is exquisite, and I think that a lot of people will just enjoy being in that space,” Oldknow added. “It’s so different from anything that we usually get to experience, the light and everything in it. The artwork, of course, for me is great and looks fantastic, but it’s also an incredible experience just being in that building. You have no idea from the outside what the inside is like.”