Workmen are putting the final touches on the galleries, and artists are coming in to produce original works or assemble their pieces. Museum Director Justin Rabideau is overseeing the monumental team effort that has gone into the creation of the first museum in the university system of Georgia in 30 years.
The grand opening of the Zuckerman Museum of Art on March 1 will be the culmination of a plan to enlarge and unify the galleries at KSU. Grand opening events will be from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the museum on Kennesaw University’s main campus at the intersection of Prillaman and Owl drives.
The new state-of-the art facility features 9,200 square feet of open, airy galleries and exhibition spaces.
The grand opening is free and open to the public. Spontaneous performances in dance, theater and music will take place throughout the evening to highlight the architecture of the building and University’s Arts District, which includes the Bailey Performance Center, Stillwell Theater and the Fine Arts Gallery.
“I believe that the Zuckerman Museum of Art has a unique opportunity to create a dynamic artistic experience for our metro Atlanta and north Georgia communities, offering a gateway into a global creative spirit, enriching and enlivening the campus and our community,” Rabideau said.
The new museum is also the first of its kind in metro Atlanta in 10 years and the intent, Rabideau said, is to provide an artistic experience to everyone, from art aficionados to casual observers.
“From visiting artists, workshops, internships and arts outreach, the Zuckerman Museum of Art offers students and the community an opportunity to experience something truly exceptional,” he said.
The museum uses an interdisciplinary approach to create exhibitions and arts-related programming that reaches audiences on different levels.
The concept is that “the arts are for everyone and everyone can enjoy the arts,” Rabideau said.
That means admission and parking will always be free to everyone.
The museum is open each Tuesday through Thursday and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Outreach and arts education will be a hallmark of the museum, which provides outlets for research at the facility and attempts to make the art world more accessible for the community.
“We see ourselves as a laboratory for experimentation,” Rabideau said.
The message is clear: come in, stay awhile, engage the arts and explore.
The museum employs a full-time outreach and education coordinator.
The Baily Performance Center atrium will feature the works of KSU’s faculty. Other areas will combine the works of new, up-and-coming artists, with contemporary works of art, student art, faculty art, etc.
With the grand opening exhibits, the focus is on architecture and a sense of place.
Architectural firm Stanley Beaman & Sears designed the Zuckerman Museum of Art with a soaring glass exterior and had artistic influence in the massive wall panel adjacent to the stairs in the museum entrance. The wall is a modern, yet retro, rendering of the topographical map of the land upon which the museum sits.
The Salon highlights 40 years of the KSU permanent collection, both modern and classic, combined under a unified theme of “place,” notes Museum Curator Teresa Bramlett Reeves. “It’s sort of a taste treat.”
Works of art are displayed from floor to ceiling in the tradition of 19th century art galleries. Exhibited artists include Thomas H. Benton, Athos Menaboni, William Sonntag and Karen Appel.
The upstairs atrium of the Zuckerman Museum of Art is filled with light and in the distance but clearly visible is the profile of Kennesaw Mountain, lending further inspiration. The staff plans arts-related movies and evenings under the stars on the terrace of the museum.
The museum was made possible by a $2 million gift of the late Bernard A. Zuckerman. Community sponsors, including the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, and the Leo Delle Lassiter Jolley Foundation, gave another $1 million matching donation with support from the KSU Foundation.
The works of Zuckerman’s wife, the late Ruth Zuckerman, will be prominently featured in the Zuckerman gallery. A prolific sculptor in stone and bronze, “From Earth and Fire: Works by Ruth Zuckerman,” take center stage in the museum’s atrium.
“For the grand opening, we’re really going to focus on Ruth Zuckerman’s works,” Rabideau said. A catalogue of her work is also being produced to accompany the exhibit.
“The whole idea for our grand opening was not to just highlight what we do here but to highlight the arts in general,” Rabideau said. “All will come together for the crescendo at the end of the event.”
The museum staff includes Rabideau; Reeves, director of curatorial affairs; Kirstie Tepper, associate director of curatorial affairs; Matthew Harper, registrar and collection manager; and Katy Malone, outreach and education director. The Zuckerman Museum of Art is one division of the Department of Museums, Archives and Rare Books under the direction of Catherine M. Lewis.