Portland Art Museum to unveil campus transformation in late 2025

Architectural rendering of the new Rothko Pavilion at dusk as seen from the east side of 10th Avenue.
Architectural rendering of the new Mark Rothko Pavilion at dusk as seen from the west. Hennebery Eddy Architects and Vinci Hamp Architects.

$111M expansion and renovation project will add nearly 100,000 square feet, connecting the Museum’s historic buildings, creating new galleries to display more of its expansive collection, and increasing accessibility throughout the campus

Portland Art Museum (PAM) announced today that its campus expansion and renovation project, which will completely transform the existing Museum and create a vital “cultural commons” in the heart of downtown Portland, will open to the public in late 2025. Adding 95,000 square feet of new or upgraded public and gallery space, the project provides increased access to the Museum’s exhibitions and programs, new ways to experience its robust collection, and new amenities that address the needs of more diverse audiences.

Designed in partnership by Portland’s Hennebery Eddy Architects and Chicago-based Vinci Hamp Architects, the $111 million expansion is one of the most significant capital investments in the arts in the history of Oregon. The project centers on the creation of the new 24,000-square-foot Mark Rothko Pavilion, which will provide a new transparent, welcoming “front door” to the museum. Designed for increased visitor accessibility, the glass Pavilion will connect the Museum’s two historic buildings, creating streamlined circulation across all four floors of gallery space.

Named in honor of Mark Rothko (1903–1970)—the renowned abstract artist who spent his childhood in Portland after his family emigrated from Latvia and took classes at the Museum’s art school—the Pavilion will bridge PAM’s landmark 1932 Main Building, designed by Pietro Belluschi, and the Mark Building, a former Masonic Temple designed by Frederick Fritsch in 1924 and acquired by the Museum in 1992. With a translucent facade that offers glimpses of the art and activity within, the Pavilion will be clad in custom, white-fritted and semi-transparent glass, creating an elegant, crystalline building that when lit, will serve as a glowing beacon for the arts downtown. Upon the project’s completion, visitors will encounter an entirely new Museum experience with completely reinstalled galleries; new, more intuitive pathways to encounter art; and increased visibility for its Native American and contemporary art collections.

Rendering of new two-floor sculpture gallery

“Though the Museum has remained open during construction, we are looking forward to welcoming our community back to experience a new PAM next year,” said Brian Ferriso, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Portland Art Museum. “Our transformed campus will invite visitors to make meaningful connections with art, find inspiration, and spark their creativity. The new PAM will create a dynamic destination for the arts in downtown Portland, reinvigorating our city and drawing visitors from around the region and world.”

The renovation and expansion will feature a complete reinstallation of the Museum’s encyclopedic collection, which includes Northwest art, Native American art, Asian art, American and European art, modern and contemporary art, prints and drawing, photography, and new media and film. The Museum’s collection is distinguished by its strong sense of place, with art that reflects the regional landscape and works spanning generations of nationally renowned artists who have all drawn inspiration from Oregon’s natural beauty and Portland’s creative culture.

Over the past two decades the Museum has significantly diversified its collection, adding works by historically underrepresented artists, with an emphasis on acquiring works by women, Native American and Black artists, as well as by other artists of color. The expanded public and gallery spaces will allow the Museum to showcase more of its holdings, exhibiting favorite works of art alongside recent acquisitions to introduce fresh perspectives on the collection.

The campus expansion will add 2,700 square feet of exhibition space for contemporary art in the Crumpacker Center for New Art, located in the Mark Building, and create a new gallery space on the second floor of the Main building. The Museum’s Library & Research Center will be relocated to the first floor of the Mark Building, allowing easier access to its extensive holdings of archival materials. The interior of PAM’s Whitsell Auditorium, a popular location for talks and film screenings, will also be refreshed.

Rothko Pavilion rendering at dusk

The transformed campus will provide areas for visitors to rest, reflect, and gather—inside the museum, on second- and fourth-floor terraces overlooking the street and parks below, and in an outdoor public plaza on the west side of the new Pavilion. A new café and expanded store will be accessible from the West Plaza, which also provides another public entry point to PAM. Additionally, the design incorporates an open-air passageway through the building connecting the Museum’s East and West Entry Plazas to Portland’s South Park Blocks. The sheltered passageway provides unique views into museum galleries and the Commons for the pedestrians and bicyclists who pass by.

“This project would not be possible without the generous support of so many people from Portland and across the region, along with the foundations and businesses who value the role that the arts play in our city,”said Alix Meier Goodman, Chair of Portland Art Museum Board of Trustees. “For more than 100 years PAM has served as a vital civic, educational, and cultural resource, and this expansion will ensure the Museum continues to thrive for generations to come.”

PAM’s campus is a cornerstone of the downtown Portland cultural district, serving as an important source of inspiration for those who live and work in Oregon. The Museum also radiates its impact out beyond its walls with programming and partnerships that reach communities across the state and Southwest Washington. As one of the oldest museums in the Pacific Northwest and the only major art museum between Seattle and San Francisco, PAM is an essential cultural lifeline for the region with a diverse slate of exhibitions and programs that highlight art from around Oregon, the region, and the world.

The fundraising campaign to expand PAM and increase the Museum’s endowment has to date raised $122 million of its $141 million goal, 98 percent of which is privately funded. The campaign includes $111 million in construction costs and $30 million to grow the Museum’s endowment, ensuring that it remains a civic anchor for generations to come. More than 300 donors have expressed their support through contributions to the campaign, with gifts ranging in size from $1,000 to over $13 million. Fundraising is ongoing to complete the campaign.

Lead campaign gifts include $13.5 million from Arlene Schnitzer, $8 million from an anonymous donor, $5 million from Mary and Tim Boyle, $5 million from Ryan and Mary Finley, $5 million from Trudy and Pat Ritz, $5 million from Nani S. Warren, and $5 million from Helen Jo and Bill Whitsell.

The expansion and renovation of the Museum’s main campus follows the opening late last year of the Tomorrow Theater, PAM CUT // Center for an Untold Tomorrow’s new space to present film and new media in Southeast Portland, expanding the Museum’s programming and physical presence to another part of the city as part of the ongoing revitalization of Portland.

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