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UC Davis breaks ground for new art museum

originally posted by Daily Democrat
March 2, 2014

UC Davis celebrated the groundbreaking Saturday for the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art — a museum decades in the making that will be dedicated to art education for students of all ages, exhibiting the university’s impressive legacy of achievement in the arts, and creating participatory art experiences.

The public ceremony and reception held at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for Performing Arts and included a lineup of activities in keeping with the distinctive mission of the new museum: Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi led donors in breaking ground while students sculpted clay on site, presented new curatorial approaches and demonstrated the many ways they have helped to plan the future museum.

A new piece of public art for the university was unveiled and performed by artist and founding member of the UCD Department of Art William T. Wiley. His massive “Gong,” created in 1986, was first exhibited on the grounds of the United Nations in New York and now comes to UCD.

The museum will showcase the university’s legacy in the arts, including the Golden Era from roughly 1960 to 1980 when well-known artists such as Wayne Thiebaud and Robert Arneson taught there and influenced generations of students.

“With this project we place the arts up front, at the gateway to campus, feeding our vision for a university that engages people culturally and intellectually in a multidisciplinary environment,” Katehi said. When built, the museum, together with the Mondavi Center and the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, and other neighboring buildings, will complete the university’s new south entry and gateway, creating a focal point along Interstate 80.

The museum is named for Jan Shrem, founder of Clos Pegase winery in the Napa Valley, and his wife, arts patron Maria Manetti Shrem. Jan Shrem made the museum possible with a $10 million gift to the university in 2011. Margrit Mondavi also made an early leadership gift to the museum project.

The museum’s “Grand Canopy” design features a 50,000-square-foot cover that “floats” atop a 29,000-square-foot series of interconnected interior and exterior spaces to create an integrated home for the many different activities that will be part of the daily life of the museum. The indoor-outdoor design, with open visual access, enables outdoor projection of art, facilitating “24/7″ access to the museum by visitors as diverse as the late-night student visitor and travelers along I-80 who may wish to make a stop and experience the museum.

The design was created by associated architects SO – IL, based in New York City, and the San Francisco offices of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. The contractor is Whiting-Turner, a national construction firm with offices in Folsom and Pleasanton.

The capital budget for the building is $30 million; to outfit the building and create the program will require an additional investment of up to $5 million. Campus officials plan as well to raise philanthropic support for an endowment that will allow museum programming to grow in future years.

Image: A rendering of the planned Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, at UC Davis. (SO – IL and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Associated Architects/Courtesy)

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