Discussions on the UIMA's future

Photo by Brian Ray of The Gazette

The front page of The Gazette on Thursday featured a prominent story by Gazette writer Diane Heldt examining what the future might hold for the University of Iowa Museum of Art. The story ran as a preview to the upcoming event, "Conversation about the Future of the UI Museum of Art," a public discussion with UI President Sally Mason, Provost Wallace Loh, and other UI officials this Saturday, April 18 at 2 p.m. in the Bijou Theater of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Heldt interviewed a wide range of people for the story, from Doug True, UI vice president for finance and operations, to Museum supporters Linda Paul and Charlie Anderson, UIMA Interim Director Pamela White, and UIMA Manager of Exhibitions and Collections Jeff Martin. The article does a great job of covering the different aspects that must be considered when looking into the UIMA's future. Here are a few quotes that stood out to me:

"...what the museum's future presence on campus will look like, and whether any of the collection will return to the former building on the river's west bank, is still to be decided. It could be five years before the museum is back in a permanent facility, and numerous options are on the table.

'I certainly would hope to have a museum in the coming years that's second to none, a museum that's truly worthy of the fabulous collection we have,' said Doug True, UI vice president for finance and operations. 'How we get there, I don't know.'"


"Supporters will be especially important in recovery for the Museum of Art, True said, because the Federal Emergency Management Agency will not contribute money if the UI decides to build a new museum at a new location. FEMA would contribute 90 percent of the cost to restore the former museum building, but that facility now houses temporary facilities for the displaced School of Music."


"Options that UI officials will consider include building a new free-standing museum elsewhere or making the museum part of a new arts complex—if officials decide to replace flood-damaged Hancher Auditorium at a new site."


"White does not favor storing art in a building near the river, given the difficulty of evacuating it last summer. Her job, she said, is to provide leadership in thinking about what the museum can be, as a steward of cultural resources and icons, without being site or place-specific right now.

'This is the time to think about all the ideas,' she said. 'We don't want to just react so fast to the tragedy that befell us by not looking at the opportunity we have to revitalize arts and culture on campus.'"


It's certainly a large topic and there will be no quick solution, but it is an important conversation for the community to have. To learn more about the UIMA's future and give us your feedback, make sure to attend the event on Saturday. UI officials and UIMA staff members are interested to hear what you have to say, because, as we've learned in the Museum's absence over the past 10 months, a museum doesn't belong to just one person; it belongs to us all.

--Claire Lekwa, UIMA Marketing and Media Intern

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