Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art

The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art will celebrate the addition of a new driveway and 15-foot sculpture, titled ‘Heliko,’ by Gower, Missouri, artist Brent Collins on Friday afternoon.

There’s rarely been a more exciting time for the current staff of the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art.

As its Driveway Accessibility Project reaches its completion, it feels like the dawning of a new era for the art and cultural center.

“It has made the museum so much more visible and so much more accessible in general to our visitors. (It’s) a new path forward,” said Jill Carlson, museum marketing manager.

The project included a new, more direct driveway to the museum’s repaved parking lot, the placement of a new monument, more visible signage and other enhancements.

It will be celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception, starting at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 22, at the museum at 2818 Frederick Ave.

The completion of the driveway portion of the project is a game-changer for the museum. For years, staff dealt with logistical nightmares when it came to tour buses and emergency vehicles like fire trucks.

“In the past, there have been issues with buses getting stuck on Frederick or scraping or breaking down or letting off passengers on Frederick and they would have to climb up a steep driveway. And for some people with reduced mobility, that is just not an option,” Carlson said.

The new driveway is a wider, straight shot to the parking lot, opening up a whole new world of tours and accessibility for the museum’s patrons.

“It is such a needed thing for this institution to carry us into the next 55 years,” Carlson said.

With the addition of a 15-foot sculpture, titled “Heliko,” by Gower, Missouri, artist Brent Collins and new signage, the museum’s staff feels like it will be more visible and welcoming to visitors.

“It symbolizes a visibility and an openness to the community that ‘We are here. We are open.’ And for some time last year, that wasn’t possible. So (we want visitors) seeing this as the place that it truly is a community-centered place that welcomes people in,” Carlson said.

The general contractor for the Driveway Accessibility Project was Al J. Mueller Construction Company, based out of St. Joseph.

The ribbon-cutting event is free and open to the public. In addition, the museum is open during regular business hours. For more information on its current exhibitions, call 816-233-7003.

Andrew Gaug can be reached at andrew.gaug@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNOWGaug

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