Museum opens this weekend

Art museum work created 10,000 square feet of space

After two years and $7.5 million worth of renovations, Ball State's Museum of Art will open its doors with a grand reopening ceremony Sunday.

Located in the Fine Arts Building, the art museum was originally built in 1934. The museum was one of the few buildings on campus which had yet to be renovated, director Alain Joyaux said.

"It was everything you would expect of a building nearly 75 years old," Joyaux said of the need for the costly repair.

In addition to new air conditioning and ventilation systems, the renovations created an additional 10,000 square feet of space in the museum.

Joyaux said the extra space on the third floor will be used for offices, special exhibits and a new gallery.

"The newly renovated building will blend the old and new together in such a fashion that when you walk through the museum, you won't be able to tell the difference from the renovated to the older (sections)," Joyaux said. "The interior is more contemporary, and all the fabric and carpet has been taken off the walls. Instead of looking decrepit and beat up, it looks good."

Another change to the museum is the creation of a new entrance facing Riverside Avenue.

"I hope that the new entrance at the back (facing north) will be intriguing and people will make their way down to the other end of campus to see the exhibits," said Nancy Huth, assistant director and curator of education for the museum.

After two years of being only partially open, Huth said the newly renovated museum will open up greater possibilities for the university to display better-known works of art.

"We are unique because our museum has such a good collection here," Huth said. "The (collections) were put together for the community and the students here."

The museum's grand re-opening will feature a collection of Rodin's most familiar works, including "The Gates of Hell." Joseph Rishel, curator of European painting and sculpture from the pre-1900 era at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will be speaking Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Rishel is also the curator of the Rodin Museum.

Ron Rarick, associate professor of art, said the museum's re-opening will better accommodate students and the community. Rarick said his students utilize the museum and its exhibits every semester for class assignments such as research papers.

"I think in many ways a museum represents the university," Rarick said. "This is such an upgrade for the university."

The improvements to the museum were hindered by a fire that broke out in a newly renovated gallery in January 2001. Joyaux said the fire caused $100,000 in damages, but the cost of the loss was covered by the university's and museum's insurance policies.


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