Committee details vision for Museum of Art


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Closing the University of Iowa Museum of Art after it sustained damage from the June 2008 flood has “created a cultural, educational, and social vacuum.”

That’s what a report released Thursday by the UI Museum of Art Envisioning Committee said. And that’s why the committee noted an “urgency” in searching for a UI Museum of Art director to facilitate the building of a new space.

UI officials appointed an 18-person committee to search for the director, and they hope to have one hired by July 1, said UI Provost Wallace Loh.

The group is searching for a director who is excited, hard-working, creative, and can plan the construction of a new museum, he said.

Having an art museum is an essential part of students’ educational experiences.

“You can’t teach science without a lab,” Loh said. “There’s no way you can recapture that experience.”

In the report, committee members suggest three options for a new art museum location — across from the IMU, next to the Lindquist Center, or the intersection of Burlington and Clinton streets.

The committee also recommended that the building feature:

• permanent and temporary space
• on-site storage for art not on display
• two large classrooms to seat 30 students, along with a 150-person lecture hall
• a shop and coffee bar

The new museum director will likely oversee the plan for a new building and will also be charged with acting as curator and integrating education into the museum’s programming.

Assistant Professor of art Monica Correia said she misses bringing her students to the museum during classes.

She noted the building joined the School of Art and Art History to the rest of the university.

“That connection is completely broken right now,” she said, and noted that the museum was also a resource for graduate students to host art shows. “This is a great opportunity to really hire someone who could improve our museum.”

Some UI students who visited the museum before it flooded said they look forward to possible changes.

Emily Wolfe, a senior earning a B.F.A. with a concentration in painting, said she misses visiting exhibits.

UI junior Sean Robinson said he enjoyed going to the museum and experiencing the artwork in real life, rather than just in assignments.

“It’s nice to see the work actual artists are doing as opposed to pictures,” he said.

Loh said the emphasis on building a new museum will be a challenge for the new director, who he said must be full of energy and willing to take risks.

Pamela White is serving as the interim head of the museum; her appointment ends in June.

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