UI envisions a new Museum of Art

Saying that "It's time to look toward the future," of the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA), UI President Sally Mason today announced the formation of the Envisioning Committee for the UIMA, which will hold its first meeting at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28, in Room B5 of Jessup Hall.

"I have charged the envisioning committee to imagine all of the possibilities for the University of Iowa Museum of Art," said Mason. "The museum makes invaluable contributions to the cultural life of our campus, our community and the entire state."

Carroll Reasoner, UI interim vice president of legal affairs and general counsel, will chair the UIMA Envisioning Committee. Reasoner, a UI College of Law alumna, said the group will consult UIMA staff, museum experts and other UI and community talents as resources in order to develop the most comprehensive and informed recommendations for the UIMA's future.

"The University of Iowa Museum of Art is an integral part of the academic mission of the University of Iowa," Reasoner said. "We aim to develop an overall creative vision that can be accomplished by the Museum of Art in a new setting and to put best ideas into practical contexts."

The historic 2008 flood ravaged the Museum's Riverside Drive facility. As the rising waters threatened its celebrated collection the museum staff had to prioritize. First, rescue the art. Then, make art accessible through alternative locations. Now, says UIMA Interim Director Pamela White, recovery from the devastation has become their focus.

"We are all, of course, saddened by the loss of the former Museum of Art building," White said. "But it's time to turn the page and begin thinking about the future of the museum, how we can make it even better than before."

Composed of community members, faculty and students, the committee's charge from the president is to "assess best practices among art museums joined to institutions of higher learning and the aspirations of Iowans for the UI Museum of Art." The group will meet throughout the next six months and make recommendations to UI leaders in early 2010.

Other members of the UIMA Envisioning Committee are:

* Community Members: David Bright, Deb Galbraith, James Hayes, Sharman Hunter, Linda Paul, Nancy Quellhorst, Joyce Summerwill and Craig Willis

* UI Faculty Members: Ruth Ann Bentler, professor of speech pathology and audiology, Barbara Eckstein, associate provost of academic administration, Robert Fellows, emeritus professor of physiology, H.D. Hoover, professor emeritus of education, Alan MacVey, director of the Division of Performing Arts, chair of the department of theatre arts and interim chair of the department of dance, Christopher D. Roy, art history professor and UIMA African research curator, John Beldon Scott, director of the school of art and art history, and Susan White, professor of painting

* Student Members: Benjamin Lipnick and Nathan Popp, UIMA graduate curatorial assistant

* Advisory Resources: UIMA Chief Curator Kathleen Edwards, UI Facilities Management Director of Design and Construction Rod Lehnertz, Jeff Lieberman, UI Foundation, UIMA Manager of Exhibitions and Collections Jeff Martin, and UIMA Interim Director Pamela White

The UIMA Envisioning Committee can be contacted by e-mail at envisionuima@uiowa.edu.

The UIMA was evacuated from its Riverside Drive building during the June 2008 flood and is exhibiting art from its collection at various locations on and off campus while it is without a permanent home. For more information visit http://www.uiowa.edu/uima or the UIMA blog "Art Matters" at http://uima.blogspot.com, or call 319-335-1725. Temporary UIMA offices are located in the Studio Arts Building, 1840 SA, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945, thomas-moore@uiowa.edu

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