Thursday, August 18, 2022

Music and art will combine when the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art celebrates the dedication of its new building and inaugural exhibition, Homecoming, on Aug. 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 ultimately look for 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 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, followed by musical performances, art stations, live entertainment, and tours of Homecoming.

“I have been delighted to see visitors react to our inaugural exhibition, Homecoming,” says UI Stanley Museum of Art 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 move and surprise our audiences. The art has never looked better.”

To watch a livestream of the dedication ceremony at 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, click on the link in the photo below.

The new home means new beginnings for the museum. Lessing says museum staff is taking risks and stretching boundaries with the opening exhibition, doing things in the museum 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’ve followed in the past, and that emphasizes movement and dialogue. We are showing art that is new to the collection and artworks that have rarely been shown right alongside old favorites,” Lessing says.

The goal, Lessing says, is to show the art in ways that evoke 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, next the UI Main Library and Gibson Square Park, received Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approval in 2017. The next 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 has been squarely behind this project,” says Lessing. “If UI leaders had not made this museum a fundraising priority, if they had not allowed us to break ground for the new building before the capital campaign was complete, or if they had not allowed the building project to continue through the pandemic, we would not be here today.

“I am so grateful for their faith and dedication 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 everyone. Seating for the opening weekend celebration is limited, so those attending are encouraged to bring a blanket or chair.

Visitors can explore the galleries and enjoy curatorial introductions to Homecoming after Friday’s opening ceremonies, and 45-minute, docent-led Homecoming tours will be available at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27; and at noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28.

Gallery hours for the weekend are from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27; and noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28.

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