Philadelphia, PA – Moore College of Art & Design celebrates the transformation of its Connelly Library into a 21st-century art and design learning center with an opening reception for the Moore community on Tuesday, December 4, 2018, 5:30 – 7 pm, in the library at 1916 Race Street, Philadelphia.

The nearly $2 million renovation project was made possible by generous gifts from The Connelly Foundation and from The McLean Contributionship, and was designed and constructed by Moore alumni Karen Daroff ’70 of Daroff Design Inc. and Emily Bittenbender ’89 of Bittenbender Construction LP.

“We are very proud that the design and construction of the library was executed by alumni,” said Moore President Cecelia Fitzgibbon. “These are women who exemplify our motto of inspiring careers in that they are working in their fields, delivering functional and engaging spaces. As a result of their inspiration, Moore has a 21st-century learning center.”

While Bittenbender and Daroff have worked together on other projects in Philadelphia, this is the first time they’ve teamed up for a project at Moore, their alma mater.

“It is particularly rewarding and exciting for me to give back my talent and experience to the institution that began my career and gave so much to me,” said Daroff, whose company is a Women Business Enterprise (WBE).

The Connelly Library’s new look includes a wood slat ceiling that visually connects the elevator lobby and the library, and provides a designer’s touch above the circulation desk. In addition, natural light pours in through new floor-to-ceiling windows that span the entire length of the reading room, showcasing a one-of-a-kind view of nearby attractions, including Aviator Park and Logan Circle, where the Benjamin Franklin Parkway begins. Comfortable sofas in bright orange are arranged to facilitate conversation and collaboration between Moore students.

Bittenbender is especially proud that her woman-owned general contracting company, with an all-women executive team and an all-women project team, was chosen to do the renovation at the nation’s first and only women’s visual arts college. “The best reward is actually creating projects that have impact onpeople,” Bittenbender said. “To be able to create a space that is going to improve the quality of the library at Moore for the students is an incredible feeling.”

The celebration will also include the dedication of the Margaret Minik Writers Studio, a gift from Meg and Craig Johnson and the Johnson Family, which has been relocated to the newly renovated library, to allow students to take advantage of the library’s wealth of resources as they engage in creative, critical and other forms of writing. In addition, a new Library Instruction Lab will be used for videoconferencing, presentations and lectures.

“My mother was a writer. She inspired me to be a writer, so this is a very meaningful space for our family to give to Moore in her name,” said Meg Johnson, a member of Moore’s Board of Managers.