The Cartoon Art Museum is a California art museum and gallery that specializes in the art of comics and cartoons. It is the only museum in the Western United States dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of all forms of cartoon art. The permanent collection features some 7,000 pieces including original animation cells, comic book pages and sculptures with approximately 5000 square feet of gallery space.
Aetypic was charged with the task of realizing the Museum’s vision: to be the premier destination to experience cartoon art in all its many forms from around the world, and a leader in providing insight into the process of creating it. Importantly, and at the same time, the museum is also located within a tourist destination locale. Therefore the design also integrates elements which serve to invite the participation of a wide range of museum goers.
Opened to the public in the fall of 2017, with views of the San Francisco Bay, the museum is located in the Ghirardelli Square, adjacent to Aquatic Park. The space is designed as a venue for viewing, discussing, creating, and interacting with all forms of cartoon art and connecting with the artists who make it. The project also features a popular bookshop and gift store.
The renovated Gallery, designed by Aetypic in collaboration with Robert Geering, FAIA, is located in a 1912 brick building which has a historic façade and a prominent street presence. The 8,000 square foot museum includes galleries, a screening area, a workshop, classroom space, a bookstore, a library and a collections storage facility. The space has been designed as a venue for viewing, discussing, creating, and interacting with all forms of cartoon art and connecting with the artists who make it.
An important part of Aetypic’s role was to meet regularly with the Museum Director, Summerlea Kashar, and other key stakeholders for their input and feedback during the design process. In accordance with their vision, the gallery space is designed to be used for numerous purposes in addition to viewing the artwork. These include educational events, public forums, artwork presentations, artist presentations and book signings, and facility rentals for private events. Therefore, the design of the space was adjusted to be flexible and useful for a wide variety of uses, despite its limited floor area.
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