The Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts, which closed for renovation after Hurricane Harvey flooded the building in late August 2017, reopened to the community Nov. 17.
The art museum, located at 6815 Cypresswood Drive, has undergone $903,665 in work by the Harris County Engineering Department, said Shain Carrizal, director of administration and finance in the Budget Management Department. The building is owned by Harris County.
In addition the museum raised about $200,000 through individual donations and grants to keep several museum programs operating off-site during renovations, PFMFA Director of Development Clara Lewis said.
“The community gave us enough support that we were able to continue to provide services at off-site locations last year while we were doing the tedious, complex tasks associated with the restoration,” Lewis said.
Harris County has funded the building repairs and expects reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and through its insurance company, Carrizal said.
The reopening coincides with the museum’s 10th anniversary this year. Among the renovations, the museum’s wood floors, glass gallery doors and exhibit spaces have been restored to their original state, said PFMFA Director Ani Boyajian, who took leadership of the museum just before Hurricane Harvey. The museum is set higher than most buildings on Cypresswood Drive so damage was not extensive, mainly affecting areas like flooring, she said.
The opening had been pushed back from the spring due to issues obtaining some of the supplies, such as air conditioning units, she said.
“We were competing with … 500,000 other people trying to get that kind of thing, so I think it was just … a question of Hurricane Harvey supply issues,” Boyajian said.
Through Feb. 6 the museum is hosting an exhibit of selections from the Chip Hosek Collection of American Art, including artists like Norman Rockwell.
PFMFA officials and the county had previously discussed a possible second location for the museum on county-owned land at Hwy. 249 and Holderrieth Road, but those plans are now on hold, Lewis said. A letter of intent was signed in 2016 between the museum and county for a museum site up to 50,000 square feet in size, officials said in 2016.
“Harvey put a delay on county plans for developing that area, and our plans were always long-term … so there really isn’t any new update [on the project],” Lewis said.
Barbara Bush Branch Library, located next to the museum, also reopened from flood damage this year.