Bill Silverfarb/Daily Journal
An empty building in Burlingame is being transformed into the new Peninsula Museum of Art. The blank walls now will be covered in art in March when the museum opens to the public.
Peninsula Art Museum Executive Director Ruth Waters has had a busy few months as she and a set of other artists have been packing up most of their belongings from studios in Belmont for a new home in Burlingame.
The museum and Peninsula Art Institute have signed a 10-year lease for a two-story building on El Camino Real next to the Burlingame Police Station and crews are busy getting the space ready for a grand opening in March.
"We are making it our own,” Waters said about the building at 1777 California Drive.
Waters is leaving her old studio at the 1870 Art Center on Ralston Avenue in Belmont and is getting ready to move a large art collection from the Manor House at Twin Pines Park to Burlingame.
The new space will feature artist studios, four galleries, a museum store and space for classes.
The Burlingame facility will now house several different groups of artists once spread out over several facilities in Belmont, including the Barrett Community Center, an old school owned by the city.
With Belmont as its landlord, however, Waters was unable to negotiate a new lease with the city to keep the artists in place so she went out looking for a new artists' space. And she couldn't be happier.
"The serendipity has been wonderful,” she said.
Her son even asked her why she just won't retire since she's been a fixture in Belmont for decades.
"Why retire? Retirement is not part of my vocabulary,” she said.
The museum's long-term goal was always to find a better space to showcase local artists' work, she said.
About 14 artists that once called 1870 Art Center home will relocate to the Burlingame space, which has been subdivided into two wings with lots of rooms.
"The space is better in reality than on paper,” she said.
The building now, though, is essentially a blank canvas with all the walls painted Richard Meier White.
"We can hang art everywhere,” Waters said.
As a nonprofit, one of the goals is to add teaching components to the facility. The museum is hoping to have Paintbrush Diplomacy conduct classes at its new facility.
Paintbrush Diplomacy encourages awareness of international issues and supports children's causes through a variety of programs including educational exchanges, community exhibits and special events.
Waters is hoping to integrate art with science to give children an exciting way to learn.
"The creativity level and tech level is so high in this area. It's a perfect match,” she said.
The museum's grand opening will be March 16.
For more information visit www.peninsulamuseum.org.
Bill Silverfarb can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.