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$26 million gift to fund new art museum on campus

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

William Shakespeare once said that art gives life shape. With the building of the new Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, life will be shaping up at MSU. By 2010, MSU is expected to be the home of a world-class modern and contemporary art museum thanks to the $26-million donation by Eli and Edythe Broad.

The Broad Art Museum will enable the university to increase the visibility and accessibility of art for both education and outreach, showcase more of the university’s permanent collection, acquire and show larger and more significant works and exhibitions and significantly add to the rich culture and artistic heritage of MSU.

"A great university needs a great museum, since the arts stimulate learning and creativity throughout the entire campus," said Eli Broad. "Speaking from personal experience, the arts have played a transformative role in my life, even though they were not the center of my studies at MSU. This museum – and the iconic building that will bring it to life – will also serve as an important new resource for the people of central Michigan, making great art accessible to the millions of people who live and work within the region."

To be located on Grand River Avenue at the Collingwood entrance, the building will stand as a liaison between MSU and the community with easy access from both East Lansing and campus.

The building will accommodate permanent and temporary exhibitions and allow MSU’s art museum to offer rich educational opportunities and programming such as lectures by visiting scholars, curators, artists and faculty; seminars, docent training; and special activities for families and school groups. The Broad Art Museum is expected to vitalize the arts district in the northeast section of campus. An additional component of this area includes the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities.

The total project cost for the museum is $30 million. The Broad gift includes $18.5 million for construction, with the remaining $7.5 million funding art acquisitions and endowments for exhibitions and operations. MSU has raised an additional $6.5 million, including a $2 million gift from Edward and Julie Minskoff. The $26 million gift from the Broads is the largest individual cash gift in the university’s history.

"Eli Broad’s commitment to Michigan State University is extraordinary," said MSU President Lou Ann K. Simon, "and his generosity will have a lasting and transformational impact. With this second major gift to the university, he and Edythe are ensuring our students and faculty have the tools for learning and knowledge for the 21st century – a conception of multidisciplinary and global learning in which art and culture must play a part."

“But in the true land-grant spirit, the benefits of this world-class facility and its programs will extend far beyond the borders of campus,” Simon said. “This is a key component of cultural entrepreneurialism that will make Michigan’s Capital Region more vital and attractive. It will provide a platform for extensive outreach and engagement to enrich the cultural and artistic education and appreciation of the entire community.”

The university is holding a competition to select the architectural firm that will complete the design for the new museum. Joseph Giovannini, a noted architect and author, was been tapped to facilitate the selection process.

Five firms from around the world, Zaha Hadid (London), Coop Himmelblau (Vienna and Los Angeles), Morphosis (Santa Monica, Calif.), William Pedersen, Kohn Pedersen Fox Architects (New York) and Randall Stout (Los Angeles), were selected as the five finalists. The firms presented their concepts on July 18 in the Pasant Theatre. Each had one hour to impress the design competition jury, university officials and an audience of about 200 observers from campus and the surrounding community.

A final decision is expected to be announced in the fall. The firm selected will work collaboratively through next year with Michigan State University staff and others, including architectural, engineering and museum consultants, to create a final design. Groundbreaking for the new building is planned for the fall of 2008 and completion of the project is expected in 2010.

For more information about the project, visit the MSU Special Report.

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