Construction on the Joslyn Art Museum sparks excitement among Central students and staff

Set to reopen in 2024, the Joslyn Art Museum has is undergoing major construction, adding many new components that students and staff are excited to visit.

Named for Rhonda and Howard Hawks of the Hawks Foundation, the new Rhonda and Howard Hawks Pavilion is a 42,000 square foot addition to the museum that expands it by over a third of its size. It is mainly displaying a large gallery of modern and contemporary art. This addition will add new entrances to the museum, and contain new classrooms and community spaces.

Many changes have also been made to the original building and the outdoor spaces. The original offices from the 1931 memorial building are being modified, and the gift shop is expected to expand. There will be light galleries added near the new addition, and outdoor spaces will undergo substantial changes.

In the past, Central students and staff in the art department have been able to experience the museum and use it as a tool to learn. Students in art club usually visit once a semester to take a tour. Some teachers will bring students to the museum during specific units to view certain pieces that correlate with what they are learning. In higher level classes, exhibits in the museum can help students write an exhibit review, which is a paper analyzing and critiquing certain pieces. The Joslyn also works with Central to display art from the International Baccalaureate program.

Although not much is being revealed about new components, Art Department Head Tanya Simmons has been working closely with staff from the Joslyn to include the museum in the art pathway for Central’s new pathways program, since it should be much more convenient to visit with block scheduling.

“Just being able to go again is huge,” Simmons said.

Simmons said it was important for students to experience a place like the Joslyn, knowing that being able to view the diversity of its art, and seeing new perspectives is a unique opportunity for many.

“I think it can be inspiring to see in person, and learn a lot about what art is, it’s not just, you know, a painting that sold for a ton of money,” Simmons said.

Students who have the opportunity to visit the Joslyn can expand their knowledge upon many topics to a great degree.

“You can learn about other cultures, history, and people,” Simmons said.

The Joslyn is working with Alley Poyner Architecture to achieve their vision for the new editions on their grounds. Alley Poyner has a long history, helping to design many well-known buildings across Omaha, some of which include the Rose Theatre, Lewis and Clark Middle School and the Dundee Theatre.