Dec. 22—LEWISTON — Things are looking up for Museum L-A going into the new year, after city councils in both Lewiston and Auburn approved funding toward the museum's rebranding effort.
The Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston, too, will receive money for what it describes as "badly needed restoration."
The Lewiston City Council voted 4-2 on Tuesday to provide $2 million toward Museum L-A's $17 million capital campaign. It also approved $250,000 toward another capital campaign at the Franco Center, which staff there said is for immediate needed repairs.
Auburn also received a funding request from Museum L-A for $1.5 million. The Auburn council has approved "up to $1.5 million, or 66% of whatever Lewiston provides."
"These are two important steps forward for us," Rachel Ferrante said on Wednesday, "and we're thrilled to have both cities' support."
At Museum L-A, Ferrante, the museum's new executive director, has said that part of the rebranding will include a name change and new, "brand identity that will broaden the museum's appeal and speak to diverse audiences."
Ferrante and other museum officials have been working to raise $17 million needed to build the new museum at the former Camden Yarns Mill on Beech Street along Lewiston's riverfront.
During an earlier City Council workshop, Ferrante said the new museum with its ambitious design, can become a destination for the region, driving economic development from jobs and tourism.
The 36,000-square-foot museum, designed by Platz Associates, will feature large spaces for a permanent collection and temporary galleries, classrooms, a cafe and restaurant, design lab and more.
Meanwhile, Elaine Roux from the Franco Center pointed out that since opening in 2000, this was the "very first time we come to the city for help."
She said the center's programs are dying off because what money they have is going into restoration of the aged church building.
The funds approved Tuesday night in Lewiston will come from the city's fund balance.