The Liz and Tommy Farnsworth Education Building at the Dixon

Dear Dixon Members, Visitors, and Supporters,

We are pleased to announce that the Dixon Gallery and Gardens will be adding a new 6,000 square-foot education facility to the existing museum in 2018. A full acre of new interactive learning gardens reclaimed from largely uncultivated grounds will surround and enhance the building on three sides. We expect to begin construction in late April or early May, and to occupy the new building in approximately one year. This impressive project reflects the Dixon’s commitment to lifelong learning in the visual arts and horticulture, and to making the museum and gardens accessible and meaningful to the broadest possible audience.

Liz and Tommy Farnsworth, longtime supporters of the Dixon, are funding the new education building in its entirety. The facility will include indoor and outdoor classrooms, a permanent interactive gallery, studio space, preparatory areas, storage rooms, and offices for Dixon instructors, interns, and education staff. The Dixon’s education programming has grown dramatically over the last decade under the leadership of Margarita Sandino, Director of Education. The Liz and Tommy Farnsworth Education Building will address and alleviate the space pressures this vibrant and still-expanding program has created.

Completion of the Liz and Tommy Farnsworth Education Building is expected to cost about $2.5 million. The Farnsworths' gift is the largest capital contribution and one of the most significant donations of any kind in the Dixon’s history. We are deeply grateful to Liz and Tommy Farnsworth for their extraordinary generosity. The expense of building new gardens may run in excess of $1.4 million, and we are currently soliciting support for that project.

The new education facility has been designed by Memphis architect Brady Moore. With its red brick, slate roof, and classical styling, the building will be very much in keeping with the Dixon’s existing Neo-Georgian architecture. The firm Grinder, Taber & Grinder, Inc. will serve as the general contractor, Janet Perry at J. Banks in Hilton Head, South Carolina has consulted on the interiors, the Reaves Firm provided the civil engineering, and our structural engineer is Bob McCaskill. Dixon Director of Horticulture Dale Skaggs, with the support of landscape architect Andy Hays, has designed the new gardens. The education facility and the garden-building project represent the third phase of the Dixon Master Plan for the facilities and grounds. The revitalization of the plant nursery area in 2014 and the museum renovation of 2015 marked the first two phases.

The new facility will extend from the east side of the existing museum building. The public will access it from the museum’s Stout Gallery. School groups and other scheduled tours will enter through a universally accessible entrance on the north side of the building.

The Liz and Tommy Farnsworth Education Building represents the first expansion of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens museum facilities since 1985.


C. Penn Owen III                        Barbara C. Williamson                    Kevin Sharp

Chair, Board of Trustees           President, Board of Trustees           Linda W. and S. Herbert Rhea Director


Dixon Gallery and Gardens

Posted by Chantal Drake at 2:24 PM
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