UI Museum of Art to open new on-campus location in Iowa Memorial Union

More than 500 works of art from the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA) collection will be available in a new on-campus art venue this fall.

The "UIMA@IMU," located in the former Richey Ballroom on the Iowa Memorial Union's (IMU) third floor, is a visual classroom that will serve as a temporary location while the museum is displaced because of the June 2008 flood.

The UIMA invites students to preview its new space from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22 during the UI Welcome Week Black and Gold Carnival in Hubbard Park. The museum will host a table in the park where students may participate in an art activity. Students who visit the UIMA's new location will also have the chance to enter a raffle for UIMA merchandise and an Atlas World Grill gift certificate for two.

"With the 'UIMA@IMU,' we can continue to offer the invaluable experience of art until a new permanent home is available on campus," said UIMA Interim Director Pamela White. "The space will serve as a visual classroom for the arts, and we hope both students and members of the public will visit often."

The "UIMA@IMU" will be available for classroom use by appointment beginning Tuesday, Aug. 25 and the general public starting Tuesday, Sept. 8. Regular public hours for the "UIMA@IMU" will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday; and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The space will be closed Mondays and on university holidays.

The installation features more than 250 art objects from a wide range of locales and periods -- Africa, China, Japan, Tibet, and the Ancient Americas among them -- as well 20th-century European and American ceramics, conceptual art and a changing selection of figurative art. In addition, the more than 250 prints, drawings and photographs that had been available since October in the University of Iowa Libraries' Special Collections will move to the "UIMA@IMU" for a total of more than 500 objects.

UIMA curatorial staff carefully chose the works with potential teaching use in mind, said UIMA Chief Curator Kathleen Edwards. "We already have classes booked to use the space the first week of classes," she said. "It's clear students and faculty have missed the experience original works of art can provide."

The UIMA and IMU began planning to make the Richey Ballroom suitable for art display just five months ago. The renovation cost about $1 million, 90 percent of which was funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Of the $110,000 remaining, the UIMA received $30,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) with the university funding the balance of the match.

Those familiar with the third-floor Richey Ballroom as an event space and periodic Iowa Board of Regents meeting room may not recognize it now. The carpet has been removed to reveal the original maple ballroom floor, which has been sanded and polished to a gleam; the ceiling has been lowered from as high as 18 feet to nearly 12 feet and the windows closed off to allow for light and climate control; and the newly painted walls divide the 4,000-square-foot room into discrete sections, including a glass-walled classroom designated for close study of art and available for use by appointment.

Parking for the "UIMA@IMU" is available in the IMU Parking Ramp on North Madison Street, across the street from the IMU's east side and at the meters in the small parking lot on the IMU's south side. Additional parking is available in the North Campus Parking Ramp, located at the north end of Madison Street by North Hall.

Objects from the UIMA collection will also be exhibited in the Levitt Center for University Advancement's Stanley Gallery, which will house African Art available for viewing by appointment, and the IMU's Black Box Theater, which will be used periodically for UIMA exhibitions. The rest of the UIMA collection is on display or stored at the Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second St., Davenport, until a new permanent home in Iowa City becomes available. Admission to the Figge is free for UI students, faculty and staff who present their UI ID cards, UIMA donors who present their donor courtesy card, and Figge Art Museum members. The general public is also welcome at the event for regular Figge admission prices: $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $4 for children ages 3-12.

Temporary UIMA offices are located in the Studio Arts Building, 1840 SA, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242. For up-to-date museum information visit http://www.uiowa.edu/uima or the UIMA blog "Art Matters" at http://uima.blogspot.com, or call 319-335-1725.

The NEH has awarded $1 million in Emergency Flood Assistance Grants for museums, libraries, archives, universities and other cultural and historical institutions in federally designated disaster areas affected by the floods in the Midwest. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this news release do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH.

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Parrott, University Relations, 319-335-0552, steven-parrott@uiowa.edu; Writer: Maggie Anderson

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