Anchorage Museum installs temporary exhibit in downtown transit center

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — A portion of the transit center in downtown Anchorage will serve a new purpose starting this weekend.

"Things like this change the perspective of the building," Andrew Halcro, Executive Director of Anchorage Community Development Authority said. Despite a state of the art design in the 1980s, the building has been a troubled area for downtown.

"It has a bad reputation for a reason and the reason is it's a poorly designed facility. Too much opportunity for bad behavior and you have to change that," Halcro said.

With no shortage of vacancies after offices and restaurants relocated, a few blocks away the Anchorage Museum saw an opportunity to branch out. "We want it to feel like a different space. We want it to feel like a very accessible space we want it to feel like it's community owned" Anchorage Museum Director and CEO, Julie Decker said.

Only a few months ago, the Department of Corrections had a street level office in the transit center.

Now, the same space has been transformed into a temporary art exhibit called, Librería Donceles and used book store. "This space is really about possibilities and spaces we don't really encounter too much in our contemporary lives. Books and bookstores are sadly disappearing from our urban landscape," Du Brock said.

"It's a way to engage community in a way that's unexpected from a museum perspective. It doesn't look like traditional art hanging on the wall," Chief Curator, Francesca Du Brock said.

Every book is in spanish and donated by someone in Mexico. "People pay what they want for the books, there are certain books that are not for sale that have traveled to all the different cities and should remain with the collection," Du Brock said. The traveling pop-up has been in major cities like Boston, New York and Miami.

Decker said temporary installations outside the museum are part of the plan to develop the Design District, a designated area between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and A to C Streets. "People don't necessarily go to a museum but they have important stories to tell and it's important for us to listen and learn from our communities. So, we're doing more and more projects outside our walls."

"What we love about design is its incredibly optimistic. It looks toward the future, it removes barriers, it's open and inclusive and its really about problem solving," Decker said about the idea to keep the district in a state of evolution.

An opening for the exhibit is scheduled for Saturday from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.