UI Museum of Art breaks ground, last of recovery effort after 2008 floods

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) — World-renowned works of art will soon once again have a home at the University of Iowa 11 years after the 2008 floods devastated the school’s original museum.

The Museum of Art is the last building the University of Iowa needed to rebuild as part of the recovery effort following the flood.

The Stanley Museum of Art will be built in the Gibson Square area. The new museum’s price tag comes in around $50 million and will be 63,000 square feet. It will also feature study areas for students as well as host traveling exhibits and the Universities famous works of art like Jackson Pollock’s ‘Mural’.

Today’s groundbreaking at 3 pm at Gibson Square featured university leaders such as The UI Center for Advancement President and CEO, Lynette Marshall; UI President, Bruce Harreld; and Lauren Lessing, the director of the UI Stanely Museum of Art; as well as a Post-Baccalaureate Curatorial Assistant, Lindley Warren-Mickunas.

During President Harreld’s speech, he highlighted the important role art has played in the University of Iowa’s history and said the new museum will help take that to the next generation.

“While it’s taken a long time, I’d say we benefit from that time to do it right. I would also say even though it has taken us 11 years, today marks the, very importantly, the end of a quite emotional and economically a major tole on our community. Which is today, it marks the beginning of the end of the recovery of the 2008 flood,” said Harreld.

While Lessing was not in Iowa during the flood, she noted watching the recovery effort from her computer was inspiring.

“Seeing the people of this community come together to save the campus that they love, it was clear to me that their devotion was more powerful than any river and here we are preparing to break ground for the last piece of our recovery from that flood a beautiful new museum,” said Lessing.

The Stanely Museum of Art is expected to be completed in the spring of 2022.

Today’s groundbreaking was also significant as it’s the 50th anniversary of the original museum’s opening back in 1969 after a Cedar Rapids couple donated their entire collection of art, 1,200 pieces. It was under the condition a museum would be built to house them and today that promise is once again being fulfilled.

Ashley Neighbor

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids
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