That breakdown certainly won’t quiet skeptics such as Margulies, who’ve wondered just what art will actually fill this brand-new building. But Collins says that even people who never plan to set foot inside the museum have good reason to cheer it on. He points to his architectural sketch’s lush canopy of encircling greenery: “It’s a place where people can be comfortable to just be. Whether you come to the exhibitions or not, it’s a public park with incredible views of the bay and beyond.”

The dreamy musings are all gone now. Collins leans forward, speaking forcefully: “We’re the only major city in the United States that doesn’t have a major art museum. That’s the short version of it. And this city deserves one. It needs one, especially given the extent to which the economy rests on tourism.”


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