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Written by:  Alyssa Griffith
Date: April 1, 2011

The Contemporary Art Museum is a new type of museum in the Triangle, equipped with a rotating, nonpermanent collection of contemporary art and design for the whole family. The museum opens its doors to the public April 30, 2011, during the grand opening weekend celebration. "The museum offers a little bit of everything for every one of our visitors, no matter how old they are," says Nicole Welch, the curator of education for the Contemporary Art Museum Initiative.

The futuristic-looking museum is housed within the renovated walls of a 20,000-square-foot converted warehouse facility in the heart of the Raleigh historic district. It includes three gallery spaces, a large classroom and an exhibition space.

Opening weekend events include hands-on activities noon-4 p.m. Saturday, April 30, and Sunday, May 1, 2011. A ribbon cutting is April 30 at 11:30 a.m. Students from Moore Square Museums Magnet and Leesville Road middle schools will be stationed throughout the museum galleries as student docents 1-3 p.m. during the weekend to interact with visitors. The students are trained to represent the artists and the artwork on display.

"I've found young people can often connect with the artists better than adults. They can often relate to things we don't," Welch says.

The museum will host a variety of kid-friendly programs, including weekend workshops, a docent program, and summer art and design studios. Families can stop by the classroom, off the main exhibition area, to re-create their own versions of the art on display. All of the artwork will rotate to feature an ongoing schedule of contemporary art and design exhibitions.

"A visit to the museum is a fun learning experience. Education is a huge part of our mission," Welch says. "Some of the art is even interactive, so it responds when you touch it."

The Contemporary Art Museum is located at 409 W. Martin St., Raleigh; 919-513-0946. It is open weekdays except for Tuesdays 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and weekends noon- 5 p.m. Admission on opening weekend is free.

Regular admission is $5. For more information, visit


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