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Transformer Station gets the NYT treatment


Ever dream of helming a museum? You're not alone. This New York Times article puts the spotlight on collectors who've been there and done that, including Cleveland's very own Fred and Laura Bidwell. In the story, Bidwell details the process behind mounting Transformer Station and the deal they struck with the Cleveland Museum of Art to keep their legacy alive long after their tenure:

After Fred Bidwell sold his advertising firm to WPP in 2010, he began to think seriously about opening a contemporary art museum for the collection that he and his wife, Laura, had amassed. As a result, the Bidwells bought a 1920s power plant on Cleveland’s West Side, renovating and expanding the property to create Transformer Station.

Mr. Bidwell, 65, said the initial cost in 2013 was $2.5 million to $3 million — not including what the couple paid for the artwork — and that annual expenses were about $250,000. He said he knew that running the building and managing the museum and its exhibitions would be challenging, so he struck a deal with the Cleveland Museum of Art, where he is a trustee. The Bidwells makes their exhibition space available to the museum for half of the year.

“We were a little naïve about how much work this would be,” Mr. Bidwell said. “When we lend our galleries to the Cleveland Museum of Art, we challenge them to do exhibitions that are more daring than they normally would.”


Read the full text here.
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