MSU receives $26 million from Eli and Edythe Broad for new art museum
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University will be the home of a new world-class art museum focusing on modern and contemporary art thanks to a gift of $26 million from philanthropist and MSU alumnus Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe.
The museum, to be named the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum pending approval from the MSU Board of Trustees at their June 15 meeting, will be the new home of the university’s art collection, currently housed on campus in the Kresge Art Museum. The Broad gift is the largest individual cash gift in the university’s history.
“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.”
The new building, to be located on Grand River Avenue at the Collingwood Entrance, will have two front doors – one facing campus and the other facing Grand River – making it the first building on Grand River to face outward and creating a visual symbol of the connection between the university and the community.
The Broad Art Museum will enable the university to increase the visibility and accessibility of art both for 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 cultural and artistic heritage of MSU.
“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 in 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 firm that will complete the design for the new museum. Joseph Giovannini, a noted architect and author, has been tapped to facilitate the selection process.
Five firms from around the world have been invited to submit competition proposals. The firms are:
- Zaha Hadid (London)
- Coop Himmelblau (Vienna and Los Angeles)
- Morphosis (Santa Monica, Calif.)
- William Pedersen, Kohn Pedersen Fox Architects (New York)
- Randall Stout (Los Angeles)
“MSU set for itself the goal of building a world-class museum for the university, for the mid-Michigan region, and beyond,” said Giovannini. “That high standard attracted a group of leading architects interested in competing for the commission. The finalists make up a very strong group of internationally prominent architects, and a great building should emerge from the work they will be doing over the next two months.”
The proposed building will have a minimum of 26,000 square feet of gallery space and will accommodate both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The new space will 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.
In addition to supporting design and construction of the building, the gift provides the resources to stimulate and support collection growth, with new acquisitions focusing on modern and contemporary works. Highlights of the university’s current holdings include: Greek and Roman antiquities; medieval and Renaissance illuminations; Old Master paintings; 19th century American paintings; 20th century sculpture by artists such as Alexander Calder and Jenny Holzer; and works by contemporary artists such as Chuck Close and Ann Hamilton.
The Broad Art Museum will vitalize the arts district in the northeast section of campus. Additional components of this area include the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, which welcomes its first class this fall, and a proposed new building for the College of Music.
The Kresge Art Center, a part of the College of Arts and Letters, which houses the current art museum, will serve the new art museum and the Department of Art and Art History and support visual arts programming with classroom, studio and exhibition spaces.
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 toward the construction project, including a $2 million gift from Edward and Julie Minskoff.
The museum will be built at the current site of the Paolucci Building, which is empty and planned for demolition this summer after completion of historical documentation. Groundbreaking for the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum is expected in the fall of 2008.
Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 16 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.