Museum’s temp home nearly ready

BY ERIN PETTIT | AUGUST 25, 2009 7:05 AM

Getting hundreds of pieces of art back on campus is a relief to those affected by the UI Arts Campus flooding during the summer of 2008.

“It’s just like seeing old friends or family that you really care about,” said Kathleen Edwards, the UI Museum of Art European and American art curator.

Museum officials have moved roughly 250 pieces of art into a temporary location on the third floor of the IMU, formerly the Richey Ballroom. The display will open to the public on Sept. 8.

The collection is expected to remain in the IMU until a permanent facility becomes available, and officials plan to move an additional 250 pieces stored on campus there.

After the flood, officials transported the Museum of Art’s 12,000-piece collection to Chicago, and in January, most of the art was transferred to the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, said Maggie Anderson, the museum’s marketing and media manager.

The vast majority of the UI’s collection remains at Figge. The collection chosen for the IMU features African art, ceramics, and printed works.

Edwards, Dale Fisher, the museum’s director of education, and graduate students Nathan Popp and Melissa Hueting chose the pieces based largely on a monetary cap on the value of art allowed in the space.

The ballroom, a former home of meetings, is now an artistic spectacle with art ranging from sculptures to traditional masks. The ceilings were lowered and windows removed to make the space more appropriate.

In addition to art, the space also features a glass-walled, interactive classroom that professors can reserve for classes. Around 75 have been scheduled so far, Fisher said.

With various pieces of art lining the shelves and walls of the glass room, students can view work up close.

Fisher said having some art back on campus will be beneficial for students.

“Even with the limited amount of space available, it is great to have some actual artwork for use in teaching,” he said.

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