WEST PALM BEACH, FL.- The Norton Museum of Art
will celebrate seven decades of bringing its quality permanent collections, traveling special exhibitions and innovative educational programming to the community with a grand celebration on Tuesday, February 8 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The 70th Birthday Bash is free and open to the public, and features a museum-wide treasure hunt; curator talks and tours; a history lesson by Palm Beachs two-legged landmark James Ponce; a vintage car display by Ragtops Palm Beach; and festive musical performances by Dimensional Harmony, Dreyfoos School for the Arts, Tabernacle Gospel Choir and Women of Note chorus.
The Museum has organized a special Curators Choice self-guided exhibition for the occasion that features artworks acquired and bequeathed by founders Ralph Hubbard Norton and his wife, Elizabeth Calhoun Norton, and an equal number purchased or given by other donors since 1953. The display also includes original documents and photographs from the Museums grand opening in 1941. This event also marks the last opportunity for the public to see Van Goghs Self-Portrait, which has been on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. since September 4, 2010.
One of the many highlights of the celebration is the Norton-inspired birthday cake display created by 15 area pastry chefs. The tasty competition will be judged at 3 p.m. by a group of local celebrities, including Taylor Morgan, host of South Florida Dines; popular food blogger Jan Norris; The Palm Beach Posts Leslie Gray Streeter; Nick Morfogen, executive chef of Delrays 32 East; and Lindsay Autry, executive chef of Michelle Bernstein Restaurant at the Omphoy. After the judging, guests will enjoy complimentary cake and champagne.
The Norton Museum s 70th Birthday Bash is free and open to the public.
The Norton Museum of Art was founded in 1941, by Ralph Hubbard Norton (18751953), and his wife, Elizabeth Calhoun Norton (18811947). For many years, Ralph and Elizabeth Norton were actively interested in fine arts and developed a sizable collection of paintings and sculpture. An industrialist who headed the Acme Steel Company in Chicago , Mr. Norton retired in 1939 to make his permanent home in West Palm Beach , Fla. Upon moving south, The Nortons decided to share their collection with the public. In 1940, the Norton Gallery and School of Art was built on property located between South Olive Avenue and South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach . Mr. Norton commissioned Marion Syms Wyeth, of the distinguished firm of Wyeth, King & Johnson, to design a building to house his collection of 317 works of art. The Art Deco/Neo-Classic building opened its doors to the public on February 8, 1941.
In 1993, due to the tremendous growth in both its art collection and the demand for its public programs, the Norton Museum of Art launched a campaign to fund an expansion and renovation, which more than doubled the size of the existing museum. The initial project was completed in January 1997. The second expansion, which opened in 2003, added the Gail and Melvin Nessel Wing. Now one of the Southeasts premier art museums and a leading proponent for visual arts in Florida , the Norton Museum of Art comprises over 120,000 sq. ft. of galleries, visitor amenities and educational facilities with a collection that consists of over 7,000 works in five curatorial departments European, American, Chinese, Contemporary and Photography.