Access to World-Class Contemporary Art Collection Free for DC Residents

Rubell Museum DC Façade Rendering. Courtesy of Buyer Blender Belle

By Southwester Staff

An opening date of October 29, 2022 was announced this month for the Rubell Museum DC, currently under construction at 65 I Street SW. The museum will showcase contemporary art from the expansive collection of Don and Mera Rubell and admission will be free for DC residents. 

The original Rubell Museum in Miami, Florida has hosted over 50 exhibitions since its opening in 1993, showcasing new and emerging artists along with well-known names such as Keith Haring and Yayoi Kusama. The Rubell Museum DC collection includes over 7,000 works by more than 1,000 artists, spanning the family’s catalog of paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos, and site-specific work by American and international artists. 

“Creating a museum for sharing our collection with the people who live and work in our nation’s capital and those who visit the city from across the U.S. and around the world fulfills a longtime dream for us,” said Mera Rubell in a news release. “We are truly excited to be joining the community of outstanding museums in the city and adding a public resource that explores contemporary life, issues, and ideas.”

The museum will occupy the renovated former home of Cardozo Elementary and Randall Junior High School, which were in operation from 1906 to 1978. The historically Black public school building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to exhibition galleries, the 32,000 square foot museum will feature a bookstore and a café with indoor and outdoor dining, as well as regular public programs. An adjacent 492-unit apartment building, Gallery 64, which shares a developer and design architect with the museum, will dedicate 20% of its units to affordable housing. 

The Rubells’ groundbreaking exhibition 30 Americans began its decade-long tour in Washington at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 2011 and subsequently traveled to 20 museums across the United States. The family art collection began shortly after the Rubells’ marriage in 1964, when Mera was a Head Start teacher and Don was in medical school. Multiple generations of their family now share their passion for collecting and supporting contemporary artists from around the world. 

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