Credit: Photo courtesy of Walker Art Center

Credit: Photo courtesy of Walker Art Center

Cowles Conservatory will close Oct. 23 for renovation

Updated: October 13, 2015 - 2:48 pm

The Cowles Conservatory will close Friday, Oct. 23 and remain so until summer 2017.

The Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board are closing the conservatory in preparation for a $10 million reconstruction of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The building will be closed through the winter and construction, which is expected to begin next spring and wrap up in early summer 2017. 

Park commissioners approved a new conservatory concept earlier this year that would turn it into an open, unheated pavilion for wine, beer, coffee or tea concessions, permitted events and park sponsored events. The new conservatory would limit the building’s overhead costs while increasing the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden’s revenue.

Crews will remove and relocate Frank Gehry’s two-story “Standing Glass Fish” currently inside the conservatory, which will make the Weisman Art Museum, also designed by Gehry, home. Dana Murdoch, a design project manager with the Park Board, said the Walker will begin relocating the work beginning Oct. 26. 

The Walker recently relocated “Prophecy of the Ancients” by Brower Hatcher, “Molecule” by Mark di Suvero and “Ordovician Pore” by Tony Crag to Gold Medal Park, though a majority of the garden’s 40 or so works will moving to storage during the reconstruction project.