CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Krannert Art Museum will act on its multiyear commitment to transform galleries and other public spaces by renovating four main-floor galleries this summer. As a result, the museum will close to the public after the final day of its spring semester exhibition calendar, May 15.
The Rosann Gelvin Noel Gallery and Annex, the Light Court Gallery and the Asian Gallery will be renovated during the summer and early fall. The project will include refinishing of floors, new walls and ceilings, LED lighting upgrades, electrical wiring and fire suppression systems. The work is necessary to update highly used exhibition spaces that have seen little change since the museum opened in 1961.
The renovation and corresponding summer closure should come as no surprise. “KAM has been raising funds for this phase of renovations for more than two years,” said Brenda Nardi, the museum’s director of development. The goal of fundraising has been to significantly enhance visitors’ experiences in both temporary and permanent collection galleries and gathering spaces, such as the lobby and classrooms. Nardi said the University of Illinois is investing in a dollar-for-dollar match for cash contributions of $5,000 and above, doubling the impact of gifts designated specifically for renovation.
“We are especially grateful to those generous individuals whose leadership is making this project possible,” said Kathleen Harleman, the museum’s director and the acting dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts.
Lead gifts have come from Harleman, as well as Joan and Peter Hood, Jon and Judith Liebman, Richard and Rosann Noel, and Virginia B. Webster. Further major gift support has been provided by the Richard D. Burbank Estate, Michael Carragher Memorial Fund, Fox Development Corporation, Len Lewicki, Krannert Art Museum Council, Harlan E. and Theresa Moore Trust, and Gary and Fraeda Porton. Robert and Ruta Rauber, Robert and Bonnie Switzer, Webster and the Krannert Art Museum Council also have provided support for the museum’s education programs. Additionally, significant gifts of artwork and acquisition funds to further develop the museum’s permanent collection have been given by Robert and Sonia Carringer, Lewicki, Iver M. Nelson Jr., and the Noels. Financial support for the LED lighting upgrade has been provided by a grant from the Student Sustainability Committee.
“Each of these donors has been generous in their support of the specific aspect of the museum’s vision that most resonates with them,” Harleman said.
The renovation is the second stage of a multiyear project that in the future may involve lower-level galleries and the lobby. Allyson Purpura, the senior curator and the curator of African art, focused on the opportunity these renovation projects provide. Purpura curated the award-winning reinstallation of the African art collection at KAM – “Encounters: The Arts of Africa” – after renovations in 2012. “Projects such as this inspire deep research and can be a time to engage the permanent collection in exciting and innovative ways,” Purpura said.
Due to the nature of the work, permanent galleries at the museum will be de-installed and artwork placed in secure storage during the closure. The renovation will be coordinated by University of Illinois Facilities and Services project manager Shannon Tucker, and designed by Rice and Lipka Architects with architect-of-record LCM Architects, LLC. Rice and Lipka consulted on the previous African Gallery renovation and has lent unique vision and expertise to the project, Harleman said. “We are excited to have Rice and Lipka on board as we move forward with these updates,” she said.
KAM will close May 15 and reopen select galleries when classes begin, including the exhibition “Borderland Collective: Northern Triangle” in the Contemporary Gallery on Aug. 26. Organized by Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum in San Antonio, and curated locally by Amy L. Powell, the curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, “Northern Triangle” aims to open spaces for constructive and ongoing dialogues and exchanges around art, migration and human rights. At Krannert Art Museum, the exhibition will be a venue for gallery talks, classroom and community meetings, a three-day residency with members of Borderland Collective, and other collaborations with campus and city partners in Champaign-Urbana. KAM will reopen all of its galleries with a public celebration and new exhibitions Nov. 10.