Board of Regents approves expansion of the Kennesaw State University Art Museum

Art Museum addition

Museum to become hub of campus Arts District and interdisciplinary research

KENNESAW, Ga. (March 20, 2012) — The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents approved construction of Kennesaw State University’s $3 million, 9,200-square-foot Art Museum addition which will provide a permanent facility to display the university’s growing and diverse art collection. Construction could begin as early as this summer and is expected to be completed in March 2013.

The newly expanded museum will also provide a center for interdisciplinary research, and will serve as a cultural resource for the community. The university has nearly 1,000 pieces in its permanent art collection, including pieces by Marc Chagall, Rembrandt Peale, Viola Frey, Norman Rockwell, Howard Finster, Pierre-August Renoir, Lamar Dodd, Thomas Hart Benton, Frederic Remington, James Abbott McNeil Whistler and many others.

“For 40 years, thanks to the generosity of so many friends in the community, the university has been building an incredibly wide and diverse art collection,” said College of the Arts Dean Joseph Meeks. “There is an evolving history of honoring this artwork and sharing it with our students and with our community. With the construction of this facility, we will be able to more properly conserve, study and exhibit this collection for the benefit of everyone.”

Among the works to be included in the expanded facility are 100 sculptures by Ruth Zuckerman. Motivated by a desire to honor the artwork of his late wife, retired carpet industry executive and longtime Kennesaw State supporter Bernard Zuckerman kicked off the fundraising efforts for phase II of the Art Museum with a $2 million pledge gift. Under the terms of the pledge agreement, the university was required to raise an additional $1 million.

Ruth  Zuckerman’s sculptures presently are installed throughout the KSU campus, with many of them displayed in the Henriquez Atrium of the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center. Phase II of the art museum will bring the entire sculpture collection together in one place – the all-glass Ruth V. Zuckerman Pavilion, a major wing of the new building.

“The art museum will become the hub of the Arts District on campus, providing a welcoming center that physically connects the corridor between the concert hall of the Bailey performance center and the two theaters,” Meeks explained. “Students and the community will be able to partake in multiple arts experiences on every visit to campus.”

Other works in KSU’s permanent collection have not been publicly displayed in many years because the university does not have sufficient exhibition space. For instance, “Jonathan and David” (c. 1929), a painting by famed American painter N.C. Wyeth, has rarely been seen.

“A piece as important and as valuable as the Wyeth painting has to be carefully conserved and exhibited with an eye toward security,” Meeks said.

The KSU Permanent Collection of Art was started in 1972 with a gift of five prints from local collectors Fred D. Bentley Sr. and J. Allan Sellars. Over the years, 30 donors have added to the collection, including Don Russell Clayton, who gifted the Menaboni collection to the university in 2007.

“We have been in rehearsal, carefully and thoughtfully preparing for this moment,” Meeks said. “Now we are ready to raise the curtain on the second act in showcasing and celebrating the intrinsic value of the arts in the economy and culture of our community.”

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 80 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing, and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of 24,100 students from more than 130 countries.