By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 29, 2015 at 11:01 AM

If you've walked or driven past lately, you've likely seen that work on the Milwaukee Art Museum and War Memorial Center is well underway.

In addition to $10 million in repairs to the museum's 1957 Eero Saarinen (War Memorial Center) building and the 1975 David Kahler-designed addition, a new lakeside entrance is being constructed as part of a more than $25 million project.

(Photo: Brady Roberts)

Recently, the museum announced that it had met 95 percent of its fundraising goal for its Plan for Future campaign, which is raising more than $15 million for its portion of the project. The donations have come from public and private sources.

"We are now in the final stages of fundraising, thanks to the generous support of donors, Members, and visitors," said MAM director Dan Keegan. "We want our visitors, supporters, and neighbors to know that they are integral to the success of the museum. The Milwaukee Art Museum is a community treasure, and the Plan for the Future will reimagine the galleries and the Collection itself, making the museum more accessible for visitors, and creating an entirely new experience for our guests."

You can read more about the plan here.

(Photo: Brady Roberts)

Ground was broken on the project in October and construction work has been moving forward since that time. The Collection Galleries were closed in November and de-installation of the permanent collection began.

In autumn, we caught up with MAM’s chief conservator Jim DeYoung to learn about the process of taking down and storing the permanent collections to make way for the work.

Note that the galleries and amenities in "The Calatrava" – among them Cafe Calatrava, the museum shop, the coffee shop – remain open.

The new "Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair" exhibition opens at the museum on Feb. 5.

(Photo: Brady Roberts)

"Most programs, events, tours and activities will continue while the galleries are under construction, including Lakefront Festival of Art, MAM After Dark, yoga, Scholastic Art Awards – Wisconsin, Beauty in Bloom and the Kohl’s Art Generation Studio," said MAM director Dan Keegan.

"We have a stellar lineup of exhibitions for the Quadracci Pavilion that our visitors will not want to miss, including ‘Inspiring Beauty,’ ‘Van Gogh to Pollock: Modern Rebels’ and ‘Larry Sultan: Here and Home’."

This week, we heard a bit more about what’s going on right now.

"Concrete has been poured on the sculpture court enclosure and will also start on the south area of Kahler (building) and work north," Milwaukee Art Museum PR manager Kristin Settle told us. "They will also begin demo on the sculpture court window (inside) next week.

"We are still looking to reveal the new galleries in November 2015."

(Photo: Brady Roberts)

The new galleries will be significantly larger, allowing for more of the museum’s collection to be visible to the public.

More information is available at mam.org.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.