Expansion Won’t Occur Overnight : Art: Newport Harbor’s got the vacant space. Now what it needs is money to complete the museum project.

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The Newport Beach Public Library at Newport Center closed its doors last week and will move into its new home on Avocado Avenue on July 12, as scheduled. But don’t expect the Newport Harbor Art Museum to take over the old library building any time soon.

Last fall, Newport Harbor officials announced a plan to double gallery space by expanding into the old library, which is next to the museum.

Museum spokeswoman Maxine Gaiber said this week that the expansion must await the results of a “quiet” campaign to raise the $3 million to $4 million needed for the project, plus about $3 million in endowment money. The museum is not releasing figures on the progress of the effort. Newport Harbor director Michael Botwinick said last fall that once the money is raised, the project could take as few as 15 months to complete.



The expansion would involve moving museum offices and certain functions into the 14,000-square-foot library building, freeing the museum to use more of its current space for exhibitions. The current space is insufficient to present traveling shows and the permanent collection simultaneously.

According to preliminary plans by Archimuse of Brooklyn, N.Y., gallery space would be expanded from 7,840 to 18,500 square feet. Plans for the old library include a children’s gallery, a 150-seat auditorium and classrooms.