Only a few years ago, it would have been almost heretical to imagine an annex or expansion to what, to architecture buffs, and even non-great-building groupies, was one of the most perfect museums ever conceived: Louis Kahn’s Kimbell Art Museum.
But then Renzo Piano, a contemporary architect that many place squarely in Kahn’s exalted league, was tapped by the August Kimbell board of directors to not only contemplate the near unthinkable, but to execute it. And several years, thousands of e-mails, hundreds of schematic drawings, tons of poured concrete, molded aluminum, polished glass, and incalculable amounts of natural light, the Renzo Piano Pavilion makes its Fort Worth – and world – debut.
And the Kimbell, which first opened its now world-famous doors in 1972, will christen its new wing on Wednesday, November 27th – appropriately the day before the national day of gratitude, Thanksgiving -- with all the pomp and circumstance you have come to expect from one of the country’s most revered temples of art.
After a 10 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony, to take place on the aptly named Kimbell Green (the verdant space between the two structures in the heart of the Fort Worth Cultural District), Fei-Fei Dong, a 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition finalist, will perform, at 11 a.m., a 30-minute recital in the brand new, acoustically pristine, Pavilion Auditorium. Then at 1 p.m., the Fort Worth Opera Studio will offer up their rendition of Three Little Pigs, all as part of the Children’s Opera Theatre outreach and educational program. And the day-long performances will conclude with a 3 p.m. concert by Christopher McGuire, as offered by the Fort Worth Classic Guitar Society.
When not listening to great music, visitors to the new Pavilion will be invited to check out the “drop-in” learning programs at the Kimbell’s new educational facilities, and replenish their energy with plenty of lemon-infused water and goodies courtesy of Blue Bonnet Bakery.
The details: Piano Pavilion Grand Opening Celebration, Wednesday, November 27, 2013, on the grounds of the Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth. Grand Opening ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Musical performances begin at 11 a.m. in the Pavilion Auditorium. More information: 817-332-8451; www.kimbellart.org/openingday