Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

06-01-2007

This morning, I had the tremendous honor of announcing to the media a remarkable act of generosity to this university and an investment in its vision for leading the way from land-grant to world-grant for the 21st century. With a cash gift of $26 million—the largest individual cash gift in MSU’s history—noted philanthropist and MSU alumnus Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, are providing funds to construct and help sustain a new world-class art museum.

Subject to approval from the Board of Trustees at its June 15 meeting, the museum will be named the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum. It will be located on Grand River Avenue at the Collingwood Entrance.

The creation of this museum, both in its physical presence and in the vital learning, outreach and cultural entrepreneurship it will stimulate, is transformational. There is no better way to lead into MSU’s Year of Arts and Culture, which officially begins this fall, than with the announcement of this signature feature of the university’s cultural commitment.

In both form and function, the Broad Art Museum will stand as a link between MSU’s past and future, the campus and community.

Looking back 25 years, MSU opened the Wharton Center to bring the performing arts not only into the educational environment, but also to the community and surrounding region through active outreach programs in the true land-grant spirit. Wharton Center was among the first facilities at MSU to be supported by private funds, and this investment in the arts and the use of private fundraising to achieve the goal, were pivotal.

Like the creation of the Wharton Center, the Broad Art Museum is transformational. But this time, it’s not simply a beginning, but a leap forward with tremendous energy and positive momentum. With the Wharton Center flourishing, MSU’s new Residential College in the Arts and Humanities opening this fall, the transition a few months ago of the School of Music to the College of Music in recognition of its breadth and stature and plans for a new College of Music Building, the arts and culture are flourishing at MSU.

The Broad Art Museum will bring vitality to the community in many ways. As a world-class facility and the only major art museum in Michigan’s Capital Region, it will make extraordinary art accessible to all. It will enrich opportunities for student learning, important because graduates entering a global knowledge economy must have more than technical abilities to compete. An understanding of liberal arts, including art and culture, must be part of education for the 21st century.

Establishing a museum of this caliber in mid-Michigan is a key to enhancing quality of life and economic development. Dynamic intellectual and cultural attractions make the regions that surround them more attractive places to live and work, and they spur other types of cultural entrepreneurship as locations become destinations. The university is actively engaged with the Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries to leverage the museum and other MSU assets to foster growth in this way.

The connection between the museum and the community will be manifest in its design. The building will have two front entrances, allowing it to face both outward to the community, region and state, and inward as a gateway to campus.

The design of the building will emerge from a competition among five internationally renowned firms, with the end result envisioned as a visual statement of MSU’s trajectory into the future. Yet the connection to the past will not be lost. A sculpture garden on the site will be anchored by mature specimen trees that will be preserved and incorporated into the design.

To learn more about the Broad gift, the new museum and the design competition, please visit the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum Special Report.

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