WVU to build 5,300 square foot art museum by 2013
Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2012 16:05
Three thousand pieces of paintings, sculptures and other works of art in storage at West Virginia University will soon have a new home.
Plans have been announced for The Art Museum of WVU. The building will include approximately 5,300 square feet of gallery space, a 30- student classroom and research labs.
The museum, which is in the final stages of design, will be built on a grassy field beside the WVU Creative Arts center and will be connected to the Museum Education Center.
Construction will begin at the end of the summer and the museum is expected to open late 2013
Art Museum Director Joyce Ice said the Art Museum Education Center has spent years searching for a home for WVU’s art collection.
"Over the past 40 years, this art collection has grown with gifts from various people," she said. "We considered moving the collection into the old WVU Alumni Association building, but it’s not adequate for what we need. A lot of people think this is a recent idea, but it’s really been several years in the making."
Ice said her hope for the museum is to be able to enhance WVU students’ opportunities to learn about art locally.
"Right now, art students have to go to Pittsburgh, which is already 75 miles away, or D.C. or Cleveland to see major museum collections," she said. "It’s important to have the presence of art, not only for the University, but for the region. This is something that will contribute to the quality of life and the vitality of the region."
The Art Museum of WVU will strive to be a place for students from all fields of study to enjoy, Ice said.
"As a part of a comprehensive education we want everyone to have the opportunity to learn about, enjoy, be stimulated by and inspired by this art. Art delights the senses, engages intellect and touches the spirit," Ice said. "We want to have engineering students, math students, physics students come and see from a different perspective, and understand that creativity isn’t limited to one field of study."
Despite a troubling economy, Ice said the University’s commitment to the Art Museum of WVU displays the University’s loyalty to students and the community.
"This is a really great opportunity to make this contribution here even in a troubled economic climate. It’s a real testament to the University that they are still going forward with this project – I’ve really enjoyed the support of the University," she said.
Ice also said the museum’s presence on campus would provide students with opportunities other nearby universities already offer.
"Many of our peer institutions such as Penn State, University of Kentucky, Ohio State and Virginia Tech all already have long-standing academic museums – we come a little late to the party," Ice said.
"This is really an opportunity to make a difference and to touch the lives of students, faculty and the community long after we’re gone," she said. "This is not something that’s going to be hidden away just for a select few."
For more information, visit http://ccarts.wvu.edu/art_museum.