A world-class cultural asset

11-07-2012

With angles and pleats seemingly compressed by speed, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum seems to embody velocity. Poised like a sprinter, it dares us to engage. If we enter, will we emerge in the same place?

Quite possibly not, if the museum’s exhibits and programming prove as transformational as the vessel that contains them. The Broad MSU's opening November 10 adds a stunning venue to the cultural assets of the campus and community, and what awaits inside will be no less extraordinary.

The museum will focus on modern and contemporary art from around the globe. Art has a way of presenting our world through the finely ground lens of personal vision, as artists apply observation and critical analysis in much more real-time mode than any chronicle could attempt. In its design, and its collection, exhibits, and programming, the Broad MSU offers a harmonious mixture of contrasts, connecting the symbolic to the pragmatic, the new to the old, and the local to the global.

As the Wharton Center proved a key cultural asset for this region in music and theatre, the Broad MSU will similarly anchor the region’s visual arts and become an internationally recognized asset for the campus, community, and state. Through the artistic entrepreneurship it will inspire, the museum will add crucial value to a growing arts scene in Michigan and a valuable dimension to the region’s creative and intellectual capital. It will be an important architectural landmark, signaling our forward-leaning nature and our capacity to compete with the best. It will be a gathering place provoking conversation, reflection, and inspiration. Finally, it will be a hub for excellence in education and a vibrant channel for global connectivity.

It is, in short, a steel, glass, and concrete representation of the land-grant university in action in the 21st century. Bold in conception and design, the Broad MSU is a world-class museum worthy of a world-class university. It is a testament to the still considerable power of place and space in an increasingly virtual world. It’s a stunning metaphor as well as a very real example of the MSU ethos of connecting dreaming to doing. It invites questions that don’t have easy answers. But that doesn’t faze Spartans, who understand the importance of determination, of steady effort in pursuit of excellence in any worthwhile enterprise. Zaha Hadid’s compelling architecture beckons us toward the future, to a destination over the horizon requiring the fortitude to undertake a journey of discovery.

And so we thank the Broads for their high expectations and vision, and the museum’s other supporters as well. Thank you, too, to the many talented people who contributed in other ways as we carried the project from concept to completion. Once again, you demonstrate—magnificently— Spartans Will.

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