UI Stanley Museum of Art to celebrate the dedication, grand opening

Music and art will combine as the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art celebrates the opening of its new building and inaugural exhibition, Coming homeon 26-28 Aug.

The museum and its more than 1,700 works of art are coming home for the first time since 2008, when flooding forced the museum to close and eventually seek a new home on campus.

To celebrate the new building and reopening, the museum, located at 160 W. Burlington St., has planned a weekend of art, music, food and entertainment. The official dedication and opening remarks will take place at 3:00 p.m., Friday, August 26, followed by musical performances, art stations, live entertainment and tours of Coming home.

“I’m delighted to see visitors react to our inaugural exhibition, Coming home,” says Lauren Lessing, director of the UI Stanley Museum of Art. “This is the culmination of years of work by the entire museum staff to bring this collection home and install it in our galleries in ways that will move and surprise our audiences. Art has never looked better.”

To watch a live stream of the dedication ceremony at 3:00 p.m., Friday, August 26, click the link in the image below.

The new home means a new beginning for the museum. Lessing says museum staff are taking risks and pushing boundaries with the inaugural exhibit, doing things in the museum today that have never been done before.

“We offer texts in our gallery in English and Spanish. We are displaying our world-class collection of African art in a new way that breaks with the anthropological models we have followed in the past and that emphasizes movement and dialogue. We show art that is new to the collection and artworks that have rarely been shown alongside old favorites,” says Lessing.

The goal, Lessing says, is to display art in ways that spark curiosity and allow visitors to see familiar works of art in new and surprising ways.

The grand re-opening was a long time coming. The art collection was without a permanent home for 14 years. The new building on Burlington Street, next to the UI Main Library and Gibson Square Park, received approval from the Iowa State Board of Regents in 2017. The following year, a generous gift from Richard and Mary Jo Stanley gave the museum its new name, and in 2019 .the university broke ground on the three-story, 45,000-square-foot building we see today.

“The university is behind this project,” says Lessing. “If UI leaders hadn’t made this museum a fundraising priority, if they hadn’t allowed us to break ground on the new building before the end of the capital campaign, or if they hadn’t allowed the construction project to continue through the pandemic, we wouldn’t be here today.

“I am so grateful for their faith and dedication to ensuring that the University of Iowa remains a great public arts university.”

Admission to the UI Stanley Museum of Art is free and open to all. Seating for the opening weekend celebration is limited, so attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or chair.

Visitors can browse the galleries and enjoy curatorial introductions Coming home following Friday’s opening ceremonies and a 45-minute docent-led Coming home tours will be offered at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27; and noon, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 28.

Gallery hours for the weekend are 4:30pm to 8:30pm, Friday, August 26; 10am to 6.30pm Saturday, August 27; and noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28

A complete schedule of entertainment and events is available at stanleymuseum.uiowa.edu event/94426/0.

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