The 9,200-square-foot addition will provide a permanent facility to display the university’s growing art collection, as well as a center for interdisciplinary research and a cultural resource for the community, according to KSU. Construction could begin as early as this summer. The project is expected to be completed in March 2013.
Over the past 40 years, the university has collected nearly 1,000 pieces in its permanent art collection, including works by painters Rembrandt Peale and Norman Rockwell.
However, a lack of appropriate space has prevented it from properly exhibiting the collection or making it available for study, said Joseph Meeks, dean of the College of Arts. He said art not on display is kept in several storage areas located around campus.
“With phase II of the Art Museum, we will be able to house the entire collection in one facility,” said Meeks. “KSU students and the greater community will be able to enjoy it and learn from it.”
The expansion is being funded by a $2 million pledge gift from KSU supporter Bernard Zuckerman, a retired carpet industry executive, according to KSU. Another $1 million comes from private donors and foundations, including $300,000 from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, which previously donated $1 million to build the museum in phase I in 2007.
Among the works to be included in the expansion are 100 sculptures by Zucerkman’s wife, Ruth, which are currently scattered about campus and will be brought under an all-glass wing of the new facility, named the Ruth V. Zuckerman Pavilion. Rarely seen works, such as famed American painter N.C. Wyeth’s “Jonathan and David,” will also be included.
Teresa Bramlette Reeves, art museum director, said the university produces about 12 rotating exhibitions of primarily contemporary art each year in three art galleries.
“We’ve been completely involved working with the architects in designing the space,” said Reeves. “We talked about what we need in terms of gallery space. We have helped them design really all aspects of it, including details of lighting and wall heights.”
Because the new museum addition includes a research center, students and community members who are interested in a variety of disciplines will have access to study the art collection and the artists represented in it, said Meeks. Also, the art galleries will be available for KSU students, schoolchildren, social clubs, church groups and others to visit.
Meeks stated that the university envisions the completed Art Museum as becoming the hub of the Arts District on campus, physically connecting the art galleries on campus.
In the most recent month, about 1,700 people visited the art galleries, according to the university.
In 1972, the KSU Permanent Collection of Art began with a gift of five prints from local collectors Fred Bentley Sr. and J. Allan Sellars. All of the art in the collection has since been donated. In total, 30 donors have added to the collection over the years, including Don Russell Clayton, who gifted the Athos Menaboni collection in 2007.
The existing Art Museum, located in the Bailey Performance Center, measures about 3,500-square-feet and includes the Don Russell Clayton Gallery and Anna Henriquez Artium.
Meeks said the Art Museum’s staff was recently moved to the KSU Department of Museums, Archives and Rare Books, providing additional staff support. But the creation of one new staff position, a museum manager, is planned, he said.
The KSU Art Museum & Galleries are open free to the public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.