ASU's Ceramics Research Center will be moving to a new home in the coming months, but luckily its extensive ceramics collection doesn't have too far to go. The new ceramics center is slated to take over a portion of The Brickyard on Mill, the ground-floor space formerly occupied by Borders Bookstore at 699 South Mill Avenue in Tempe.
According to ASU ceramics curator Peter Held, the Tempe Center shopping mall property where the CRC is currently located is being leased to developer Concord Eastridge, the company responsible for the Roosevelt Point housing on Roosevelt and 3rd Street in Phoenix. The space along Mill Avenue between University and Ninth Street will become a mixed-use retail space with an Omni Hotel and a convention center. It will also be the new national headquarters of USA Basketball. Construction on the $350 million project will begin at the end of this year, with completion projected for the latter half of 2015.
The CRC only received news of the development plans in August, but Held says they are excited to explore the potential of the new space. The Brickyard location has a more flexible floor plan and additional space, he notes. The new center will feature a ceramics-focused museum store and, eventually, a small cafe as well.
The new location is sure to help the museum reach out to a wider audience, in effect extending ASU's art offerings to the heart of downtown Tempe. Admission to the museum will remain free to the public.
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The CRC will remain open in its original space through the end of the semester. The grand re-opening celebration will take place this coming February, and the new CRC's inaugural exhibition will go up in March 2014.
For the first show, the museum will pay homage to the previous use of the space with Pablo Helguera's Librería Donceles, an installation piece with 12,000 used books written in Spanish. The first iteration of Helguera's project took place in September at Kent Fine Art in New York City, where he created the first Spanish-language used bookstore in the city. When Librería Donceles comes to Tempe, it will become the only Spanish-language bookstore in metro Phoenix.
Stay tuned for more information about the museum opening and upcoming events.