LBMA Downtown: Yes, it’s open

Ronald Nelson surveyed the LBMA Downtown museum’s 3,000-foot open, bright, airy space and said when you visit the museum for the first time “you feel like you can fly.”

He’s the museum’s executive director. It was just minutes away from the grand opening.

Ronald C. Nelson and David Schnur gauge the crowd at the start of the LBMA Downtown grand reopening. Nelson is the museum’s executive director. The Long Beach Museum of Art officially reopened its downtown location, Saturday, Sept. 7. Photo by Bill Alkofer

As a vacuum cleaner hummed away along a red carpet, Nelson admitted he was a little nervous before the unveiling of a collection from 35 Long Beach artists. After nearly a year of renovation, the Long Beach Museum of Art reopened its LBMA Downtown location, Saturday evening. A VIP preview and reopening celebration was attended by, among others, Mayor Robert Garcia and philanthropist Josephine Molina, who donated $1 million to the project.

Josephine Molina was the sole donor who paid for the improvements to the Long Beach Museum of Art’s downtown location. She attended the official reopening.

The debut exhibition is titled “Collecting Long Beach: Seven Decades from the Permanent Collection.” It opens to the general public on September 14.

LBMA Downtown is located at 356 East 3rd Street in a building built in the 1920s to house the National Cash Register Bank.

The current exhibit showcases pieces from Long Beach artists including Rod Briggs, Tony Marsh, Sandow Birk, Sarah Arnold, Frank E. Cummings and Carl Aldana.

The Long Beach Museum of Art officially reopened its downtown location. Photo by Bill Alkofer

Museum director Nelson said he is reveling in the art scene that has blossomed in Long Beach over the past few years and the LBMA Downtown will be a vital part of that.

The space that is now home to the LBMA Downtown was, in 1925, home to The National Cash Register Company. The museum reopened its downtown location on Saturday, September 7, 2019.
Photo by Bill Alkofer

Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia talks with museum executive director Ronald C. Nelson. Photo by Bill Alkofer

Six-month-old Henry Sharkey was on hand for the LBMA Downtown’s official reopening. Photo by Bill Alkofer

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Primal Alchemy provided the food. Photo by Bill Alkofer

The Long Beach Museum of Art officially reopened its downtown location. Photo by Bill Alkofer

Saxophonist Evan O’Brien of the duo Colorquest provided music from under the stairs of the Long Beach Museum of Art’s downtown location. Photo by Bill Alkofer

Art from contemporary Long Beach artists adorned the walls of LBMA Downtown. Photo by Bill Alkofer

A crowd gathered to watch the ceremonies at the new the LBMA Downtown.Photo by Bill Alkofer

A guest walks by one of the paintings in the LBMA Downtown. Photo by Bill Alkofer

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Bill Alkofer, a contributing photographer for the Long Beach Post, has been shooting pictures professionally for 38 years, including stints at the Orange County Register, the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Daily News. If you see him out shooting photos, ask him why—and settle in for a very long and thorough answer.
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