By Jonah Grinkewitz

The Barry Art Museum at Old Dominion University will double its gallery space by adding a three-story wing that will include a multiuse event space, a community gallery, an educational laboratory and more. The announcement comes on the fifth anniversary of the museum’s public opening in 2018.

Founded by art collectors Carolyn and Richard Barry, the Barry Art Museum houses a significant collection of contemporary glass, American and Marine paintings and historic dolls and automata. With the gift of the Waitzer Glass Collection in 2022, featuring 165 works of 20th-century and contemporary glass sculpture, the museum collection has expanded beyond the capacity of its current space.

"Embarking on this major expansion within just five years is a testament to the transformative power of art,” said Lewis Webb, Barry Art Museum board president. “Whether you're a student, faculty member or simply a lover of art within our community, the Barry Art Museum showcases the remarkable achievements born from the fusion of our visionary founders and a thriving University."

The lead gift for this project is from the family of Leah and Richard Waitzer, art collecting mentors of the Barrys’. The new "Waitzer Wing" will extend along Hampton Blvd. off the existing building and encompass three stories of new facilities. The addition will add 25,200 square feet to the museum and construction will begin in fall 2024. The museum has raised $20 million of its $25 million goal to fund the project and support expanded operational costs. Additional funding for the expansion comes from approximately a dozen other museum supporters. As with the existing facility, the new addition will be designed by local architect Burrell Saunders and owned and built by the ODU Real Estate Foundation.

“As the gateway to the ODU Arts District, the Barry Art Museum is an artistic and educational destination for students, faculty, staff, and community members,” said ODU President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. “In the past five years, the Barry Art Museum has brought a great deal of excitement and intrigue to the region.  And, with this expansion, the Waitzer Wing will provide new possibilities and limitless opportunities for the Barry Art Museum, our institution, and our region!”

The "Waitzer Wing" will introduce a range of new amenities to enrich the museum experience for all visitors, including:

  • Expanded multiuse event space: Extending from the sculpture court, this space will accommodate a variety of events and gatherings, fostering a deeper connection between the museum and the community.
  • New media video gallery: Featuring cutting-edge technology, this gallery will showcase multimedia artworks, bringing a new dimension to the museum's exhibitions.
  • Community gallery: A dedicated space for local artists and community exhibitions, fostering a sense of inclusivity and engagement.
  • Educational laboratory: Art facility where visitors of all ages can engage in hands-on art education and exploration.
  • Expanded art storage: Safeguarding the ever-growing collection and allowing for more frequent rotations of artwork.

"The 'Waitzer Wing' marks an exhilarating step for our institution,” said Charlotte Potter Kasic, Barry Art Museum executive director. “The expansion will not only house the past but also provides a window into the future, where new media and interdisciplinary artworks will bridge the gap between our rich history and modernity, leaving an indelible mark on our broader community and inspiring generations to come."

For more information about the Barry Art Museum and the expansion plans, please visit