Music and art will combine when the University of Iowa’s Stanley Museum of Art celebrates the dedication of its new building and inaugural exhibit. Returning homeon August 26-28.
The museum and its more than 1,700 works of art are back 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 fun. The official dedication and opening remarks will take place at 3pm on Friday, August 26, followed by musical performances, art stations, live entertainment and tours of Returning home.
“I was delighted to see visitors react to our inaugural exhibition, Returning home,” says UI Stanley Art Museum Director Lauren Lessing. “It 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 touch and surprise our audiences. Art has never looked better.”
To watch a live stream of the dedication ceremony at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, August 26, click on the link in the image below.
The new home means new beginnings for the museum. Lessing says museum staff are taking risks and pushing boundaries with the inaugural exhibit, doing things in museums today that have never been done before.
“We are offering our gallery texts 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’re showing art that’s new to the collection and artwork that’s rarely been shown alongside old favorites,” says Lessing.
The goal, Lessing says, is to show art in ways that spark curiosity and allow visitors to see familiar pieces of art in new and surprising ways.
The grand reopening has been a long time coming. The art collection was without a permanent home for 14 years. The new building on Burlington Street, near the UI Main Library and Gibson Square Park, received Iowa State Board of Regents approval in 2017. The following year, a generous gift from Richard and Mary Jo Stanley named the museum the his new, and in 2019, the university broke ground on the three-story, 45,000-square-foot building we see today.
“The university has been fully 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 capital campaign ended, or if they hadn’t allowed the project to construction continued during the pandemic, we would not be here today.
“I am very grateful for their trust and commitment to ensuring that the University of Iowa remains a great public university for the arts.”
Admission to the UI Stanley Museum of Art is free and open to all. Seating for the opening weekend party is limited, so attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or chair.
Visitors can explore the galleries and enjoy curatorial presentations Returning home after Friday’s opening ceremonies, and a 45-minute, docent-led Returning home tours will be available at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on Saturday, August 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 on Friday, August 26; Saturday, August 27, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; and noon to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 28.
A complete schedule of entertainment and events is available at stanleymuseum.uiowa.edu event/94426/0.