Kennesaw State Receives $2 Million Challenge Gift to Build Phase II of Art Museum
Donor will match gifts, lending major support to university’s capital campaign
Retired carpet-industry leader and long-time Kennesaw State University supporter Bernard A. Zuckerman has made a $2 million pledge to name Phase II of the proposed Art Museum at Kennesaw State University. Under the terms of the pledge agreement, Kennesaw State must raise at least $1 million more for the museum in the next 10 months.
“This is indeed a wonderful occasion in my life. It has so much meaning for me and my dear wife,” Bernard Zuckerman said at an official signing ceremony that marked the pledge commitment. Zuckerman noted that the pledge is motivated by his desire to honor the artwork of his late wife, sculptor Ruth Zuckerman. “This will be the beginning of something I think is important and which will greatly benefit the university by expanding the art facilities.”
Kennesaw State University President Daniel S. Papp expressed his gratitude to Zuckerman for the generous pledge, which will leverage both individual and major donor support for the museum project. “On behalf of the students, faculty and staff, we thank Mr. Zuckerman for his tremendous generosity to this university,” Papp stated. “KSU’s administration is fully committed to building a preeminent arts program – including the visual arts. Completion of the next phase of the Art Museum will significantly expand our capabilities in this important area while enhancing our national reputation.”
KSU Vice President for Advancement Wesley K. Wicker noted that Zuckerman’s pledge provides added value for other donors. “In essence, Mr. Zuckerman is matching every dollar raised, up to the first million dollars,” Wicker said. “That means that each gift will have a much greater impact.”
KSU’s expanded Art Museum will provide a permanent facility to display the university’s growing and diverse art collection. It also will provide a center for interdisciplinary research and will serve as a cultural resource for the community. The university has nearly 1,000 pieces in its permanent art collection.
“We want to be able to share these great works of art with our students and with the wider community, but we need to have adequate galleries to display them properly and securely,” said Joseph Meeks, dean of the KSU College of the Arts. “We hope the Zuckerman pledge will inspire others to generously support Phase II of the Art Museum.”
Phase I of KSU’s art museum was completed in 2007, constructed as a wing of the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center. Funded primarily by a $1 million grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, Phase I includes the Don Russell Clayton Gallery and the Anna F. Henriquez Atrium.
The Clayton Gallery houses the largest-known collection of artwork by Italian-born Atlanta artist Athos Menaboni, while the Henriquez Atrium displays several sculptures by Ruth Zuckerman. Once constructed, the second phase of the museum will provide several additional galleries and support facilities to maintain the university’s art collection in a building adjacent to the Bailey Performance Center.
Among the works to be included in the expanded facility are 100 sculptures by Ruth V. Zuckerman, Bernard Zuckerman’s late wife. Although he was approached by other museums following her 1997 death, Zuckerman selected Kennesaw State because the university promised to display all of the works. “I didn’t want any of the pieces to end up in a basement where no one could see them,” Zuckerman stated.
Mrs. Zuckerman’s sculptures presently are installed throughout the KSU campus, with many of them displayed in the Henriquez Atrium. Zuckerman’s $2 million pledge is aimed at bringing the entire sculpture collection all together in one place – the all-glass Ruth V. Zuckerman Pavilion, a major wing of the proposed new building.
Other works in KSU’s permanent collection have not been publicly displayed in many years because the university does not have sufficient exhibition space. For instance “Jonathan and David” (c. 1929), a painting by famed American painter N.C. Wyeth, has rarely been seen. “A piece as important and as valuable as the Wyeth painting has to be carefully conserved and exhibited with an eye toward security,” Meeks said.
The KSU Permanent Collection of Art was started in 1972 with a gift of five prints from local collectors Fred D. Bentley Sr. and J. Allan Sellars. Over the years, 30 donors have added to the collection, including Don Russell Clayton who gifted the Menaboni collection to the university in 2007.
Artists represented in the collection include Marc Chagall, Rembrandt Peale, Viola Frey, Norman Rockwell, Howard Finster, Pierre-August Renoir, Lamar Dodd, Thomas Hart Benton, Frederic Remington, James Abbott McNeil Whistler and many others.
“We need a few more generous friends like Mr. Zuckerman to make KSU’s expanded Art Museum a reality,” Meeks said. “Then, the entire community will have access to these great artists throughout the year.”
To contribute to the Art Museum fund, contact Stacie Barrow, director of development for the College of the Arts, at (770) 499-3129. The Art Museum’s web site is located at: www.kennesaw.edu/arts/friends/museum.
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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 70 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing, and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of more than 22,300 students from 142 countries. KSU’s College of the Arts is one of only four Georgia institutions to have achieved full national accreditation for all of its arts programs.