"It’s mid-afternoon on a steamy Friday and the cool, light-filled lobby of the Contemporary Arts Center is buzzing. Lunch meetings are taking place at tables in the Collective CAC. Patrons browse the gift shop.
Couples walk slowly up the long staircase that cuts through the building. As they do, they point to lit pendulums swinging rhythmically on the concrete wall of the stairwell. Amid the hubbub, a woman naps on one of the low-slung sofas, a cup of coffee perched on its arm next to her head.
Director Raphaela Platow steps off an elevator and is all smiles. This lively, casual space is the lobby she envisioned eight years ago.
In 2015, the austere concrete space underwent a startling $1.1 million makeover. The shop was downsized and moved. The welcome desk shifted from the side to the center. A cafe, with a bar, was added. Low-slung sofas and funky seats invited guests to step right in and relax."