State grant to help update Quincy Art Center

The Quincy Art Center has been located at 1515 Jersey Street since 1932.

The last major renovation project on the building was over a decade ago and now state grant is going to allow the Art Center to undertake another major project in 2013.

As you take a look at the exterior of the Art Center you'll think it's in pretty good shape. But a closer look shows that it needs some paint and other attention to the old carriage house that dates back to the late 1800s. And if you take a walk through the Sinnock Gallery inside the building, you'll see that the space can only accommodate 50 people because there's only one way in and out. That limit on the capacity of the room was put in place by the Quincy Fire Department. Now thanks to a grant from the State of Illinois as part of the Illinois Public Museum Capital Grant Program, a lot of that is going to change in 2013.

"And one of the things is we need another emergency exit from this gallery the Sinnock Gallery. So we can have more then 50 people in here. And it's a big safety issue, we want people to be able to get out if there's an emergency," Art Center Executive Director Julie Nelson said.

Nelson has been the executive director for the art center for nearly 20 years. She's been involved in other major renovation projects and she said this one is going to help with more exhibits in the gallery and that will bring more people to the Art Center throughout the year.

"The grant application came out so late and so close to the deadline that we were concerned about even being able to get it done. But I had staff and volunteers and board members that helped and it was a true team effort," Nelson said.

Some of the work will also include new flooring and lighting for the gallery as well as new display partitions. The exterior work will also include new concrete sidewalk construction, brick pavers being replaced and some tuck pointing. Things Nelson said will help the Art Center for years to come.

Nelson also said the historic integrity of the building will be maintained during and after the planned renovations.

The board and the architect still have to complete a final spec package before they send it out to contractors for bid.