The Cafesjian Art Trust is opening a new museum in Shoreview this fall that will display the world-class private art collection of art lover and philanthropist Gerald Cafesjian.
Containing nearly 3,000 pieces of studio glass sculptures and contemporary artwork, the collection includes glass pieces by the well-known Dale Chihuly, Toots Zynsky, Stansilav Linensky, Jaroslava Brychtova and contemporary artwork by Arshile Gorky, Victor Vasarely, Georges Braque, and many other world-renowned artists.
The CAT museum is spearheaded by Cafesjian Art Trust Trustee Kathie Cafesjian Baradaran, whose father owned the collection, and Andy Schlauch, the former executive director of the Chihuly Collections in St. Petersburg, Florida, who is assuming the position of executive director of the CAT.
Shoreview ended up being the perfect location for the new museum, according to Schlauch and Baradaran, who grew up in the area and also went to school in Roseville. The building, a former engineering firm, already had everything they needed: warehouse space, office space, and the added bonus of exhibition space. In a way it was fate, and it’s as if her father’s collection is returning home.
“It’s really exciting and it’s been a long time coming,” said Baradaran. “[My father] lived in Shoreview for many years. So I think he would be really pleased with it.”
The plan is that the museum’s landscape will be designed in a way that it is an extension of the museum, according to Schluach. Renovations to the site include a new parking lot, native plantings, and a 1,000 square foot garden. The sculptures Sitting Figures by Lynn Chadwick and The Glassinator by Andrew Carson will be permanent outdoor installations of the museum.
The pair hope the new museum will be a venue that highlights the artistic craftsmanship of studio glass, showcasing the ways the form appears in sculpture and not just decorative works.
“It’s really nice to have a destination for people in the Shoreview region,” added Schlauch. “There’s something creative and interesting about contemporary art and art glass pieces that people can get easy access to.”
The first two shows will highlight the collection that Baradaran’s father spent years perfecting before he passed away in 2013. The inaugural exhibit will display the works of Dale Chihuly, specifically the 30-year-long friendship of Chihuly and Gerald Cafesjian and its influence on Cafesjian’s collections. The second exhibit, Highlights of the Cafesjian Art Trust, will feature the collection in its entirety, showcasing the broad range of pieces that Cafesjian collected over the years.
“We wanted to create a show that would welcome people right off the bat,” Schlauch said.
In addition to shows, the pair hopes that the museum will become a place where people can come to learn about and appreciate glass sculpture and contemporary art, through welcoming children’s groups and nursing home tours, be the perfect spot for date night, host “cocktails for the collection” evenings, and even classes with the artists themselves.
4600 Churchill Street, Shoreview