FLINT – Now with the University Board of Regents’ approval,
architects will begin designing a $35 million expansion and
renovation of the University of Michigan Museum of Art.
The museum, which currently displays only 3 percent of its
collection due to space shortages, will be expanded, doubling its
existing space. The project, to be funded primarily through private
funding, has already received $6 million in donations.
But construction will not start until fundraising is complete,
University President Mary Sue Coleman said at yesterday’s Regents’
board meeting in Flint.
A major fundraising campaign will begin next year, hoping to
capitalize on the recent attention generated from the museum’s
high-profile exhibits like the current art on loan from the State
Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg – artwork displayed in the
United States for the first time.
“As demonstrated so clearly by the St. Petersburg tricentennial,
the (University’s) museum plays a significant role in supporting
interdisciplinary learning and engaging the community in the visual
arts,” Coleman said.
Museum Director James Steward said he is excited about the
approval of the renovation project.
“The museum is in desperate condition when it comes to space,”
Steward said, who has been director since 1998.
“We struggle with the space.” Steward added that the expansion
might be added in the space between Angell Hall and the museum.
Ann Arbor resident Susanne Alexander gives weekly talks on
special exhibits at the museum. “It will be terrific to have more
space for our large collection,” Alexander said. “It will benefit
visitors and staff.”
Allied Works Architecture, based in Portland, Ore., has been
asked to undertake the job. Plans include the addition of
classrooms, a small restaurant and more exhibit space. “Allied
Works Architecture is now doing some of the most refined museum
buildings in the United States,” Steward said. “I admire their
ability to combine a warm and elegant minimalism with great
sensitivity to historically significant structures.”