Ranked among the nation's largest, most important suburban art museums, Nassau County Museum of Art is located about 25 miles east of New York City in Roslyn Harbor, Long Island on the former Frick Estate, a spectacular property in the heart of Long Island's fabled Gold Coast. The main museum building, named in honor of art collectors and philanthropists Arnold and Joan Saltzman, is a three-story Georgian mansion that exemplifies Gold Coast architecture of the late 19th century.
In addition to the Arnold & Joan Saltzman Fine Art building, Nassau County Museum of Art includes the Sculpture Park, Formal Garden of historic importance, the Pinetum, an architecturally-significant restored trellis, rare specimen trees, and marked walking trails.
The Nassau County Museum of Art is dedicated to fostering a deeper understanding of art and culture through exhibition and education programs for people of all ages and backgrounds. In practice, the Museum pursues the mission by enhancing its permanent collections, sculpture park, historic property and natural setting.
Nassau County Museum of Art annually presents major rotating exhibitions, many of which are original to the museum and are organized by the museum's own curatorial staff. Always adventurous in scope, exhibitions have reached across a broad spectrum of artistic concerns---European and American art movements (Surrealism, September 2000 & May 2007; Reflections of Opulence, May 2001, A Century of Prints, March 2003, La Belle Epoque, June 2003, European Art Between the Wars, May 2004, Picasso, February 2005, Picasso and the School of Paris. November 2006, Pop and Op, February 2008: Miro/Dubuffet/Basquiat, March 2010; Milton Avery & The End of Modernism, January 2011); epochs of American history (The Revolutionary War, January 2000, Window on the West, February 2002, The World of Theodore Roosevelt, November 2002, The WPA Era, August 2004, The American Spirit, August 2006, The Civil War in Paintings by Mort Kunstler, September 2010), the influences of one art form on another (Dance, Dance, Dance, June 2000, Explosive Photography/Photorealism, January 2004, Geoffrey Holder: A Life in Art, Theater and Dance, November 2007), the impact of Long Island artists on contemporary art (The Hamptons Since Pollock, April 2000), and the influence of a dynamic world leader on the arts (Napoleon And His Age, January 2001, Napoleon & Eugenie, June 2009). In addition to these major exhibitions, the museum mounts smaller original exhibitions in the Library Gallery, the Second Floor galleries and regularly showcases work by some of today's most intriguing artists in the Contemporary Gallery.
The permanent collection of more than 500 art objects spans American and European art of the 19th and 20th centuries. Encompassing all types of media, the collection includes works by Rodin, Braque, Vuillard, Bonnard, Lichtenstein, Rivers, Rauschenberg, Chaim Gross, Moses Soyer, Frank Stella, and Alex Katz among many others.
The 145 acres of the former Frick Estate constitute one of the largest publicly accessible sculpture gardens on the East Coast. Among the more than 30 sculptures sited on the property to interact with the natural environment are works by Tom Otterness, Fernando Botero, Chaim Gross, Alejandro Colunga, Masayuki Nagare, Richard Serra, Manolo Valdes and many others. The Sculpture Park was founded in 1989.
Accredited by the New York State Board of Regents as a museum and educational institution, the museum serves more than 18,000 Long Island school children and their teachers who visit the museum each year for exhibition tours and art-related activities. The Education Department offers school lectures, teacher training programs, and programs for adult and family groups. The museum's professional staff is augmented by more than 200 volunteers and 50 docents who provide informative exhibition tours for the public and who extend the museum's reach by offering exhibition talks in community-based venues such as libraries and senior citizen centers.
Commissioned in 1925 by Frances Frick, an avid horticulturist and garden club member, the Frick Estates Formal Gardens have been restored to the original design of the famed landscape architect, Marian Cruger Coffin. Coffin considered these Formal Gardens to be among her finest creations. In recent years, the historic garden trellis and water tower have been restored to original condition. Additionally, many pathways through the 145-acre property are now marked as guided nature trails.
In 1919, Henry Clay Frick, the co-founder of U.S. Steel, purchased the property once owned by the poet and preservationist, William Cullen Bryant, for his son, Childs Frick. The architect Sir Charles Carrick Allom was commissioned to redesign the facade and much of the interior of the home which the Fricks named Clayton. The younger Frick and his wife Frances lived at Clayton for almost 50 years. Following Childs Frick's death in 1965, the estate was purchased by Nassau County which then converted it to a museum, now the Nassau County Museum of Art.
Once administered by Nassau County's Office of Cultural Development, the museum became a private not-for-profit institution in 1989 and is governed and funded by a private board of trustees which includes many of Long Island's most prominent business, civic and social leaders. The museum is chartered and accredited under the laws of New York State as a not-for-profit private educational institution and museum. The museum is funded through income derived from admissions, parking, membership, special events and private and corporate donations as well as federal and state grants.
Nassau County Museum of Art is located at One Museum Drive (just off Northern Boulevard, Route 25A, two traffic lights west of Glen Cove Rd.) in Roslyn Harbor. Admission to the main building, the Arnold & Joan Saltzman Fine Art Building, is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (62+) and $4 for children ages 4-12. Members are always admitted free of charge. Hours for the main building are 11 am to 4:45 pm Tuesday through Sunday. Weekends only there is a $2 parking fee (members free). Docent-led tours of the main exhibition are offered at 2 pm each day; free with museum admission. Meet in the lobby, no reservations are needed. Family art activities and tours are offered Sundays from 1 pm; free with museum admission. The Museum Store is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 am-4:30 pm. Call (516) 484-9337 for current exhibitions, events, days/times and directions or log onto nassaumuseum.org.
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