Where Asia Meets America
The Freer|Sackler – the Smithsonian's museums of Asian art – reopened in October 2017 with fanfare, following at two-year renovation. A weekend-long celebration, IlluminAsia: A Festival of Asian Art, Food and Cultures, brought the first-ever Asian night market to the National Mall, along with an extraordinary nighttime video projection on the façade of the Freer Gallery (pictured).
The renovation of the Freer, the Smithsonian's first art museum, evokes founder Charles Lang Freer's original vision with terrazzo floors and the use of natural light, while incorporating the latest museum technology. Reinstalled and reinterpreted galleries employ state-of-the-art standards for the display and preservation of the museum's collection. Updates to lighting, audio and video systems in the auditorium will support innovative programming.
"I'm proud of the way that the museum has become more outward-looking, engaged and willing to take risks," said Julian Raby, the Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Freer|Sackler, of the museums' transformation.
The Freer|Sackler raised $65.18 million (as of Sep. 30, 2017) as part of the Smithsonian Campaign, well surpassing its goal of $55 million. Campaign funds have endowed the director's position, created new curator positions and contributed to new programs, exhibitions and collections care.