UC Davis opens new chapter as it breaks ground for new art museum

The University of California, Davis, will celebrate groundbreaking today for the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art — a museum decades in the making that will be dedicated to art education for students of all ages, exhibiting the university’s impressive legacy of achievement in the arts, and creating participatory art experiences. 

The public ceremony and reception begin at 3 p.m. at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for Performing Arts and include a lineup of activities in keeping with the distinctive mission of the new museum: Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi will lead donors in breaking ground; architects will present the museum design; art faculty will have brief presentations; and students will sculpt clay on site, present new curatorial approaches and demonstrate the many ways they have helped to plan the future museum.

A new piece of public art for the university will be unveiled and performed by artist and founding member of the UC Davis Department of Art William T. Wiley. His massive "Gong," created in 1986, was first exhibited on the grounds of the United Nations in New York and now comes to UC Davis. The day’s activities are designed to give all visitors a taste of a museum that will be a constantly evolving public event.

“With this project we place the arts up front, at the gateway to campus, feeding our vision for a university that engages people culturally and intellectually in a multidisciplinary environment,” Katehi said. When built, the museum, together with the Mondavi Center and the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, and other neighboring buildings, will complete the university’s new south entry and gateway, creating a focal point along Interstate 80.

The museum is named for Jan Shrem, founder of Clos Pegase winery in the Napa Valley, and his wife, arts patron Maria Manetti Shrem. Jan Shrem made the museum possible with a $10 million gift to the university in 2011. Margrit Mondavi also made an early leadership gift to the museum project.

The museum’s “Grand Canopy” design features a 50,000-square-foot cover that “floats” atop a 29,000-square-foot series of interconnected interior and exterior spaces to create an integrated home for the many different activities that will be part of the daily life of the museum. The indoor-outdoor design, with open visual access, enables outdoor projection of art, facilitating “24/7” access to the museum by visitors as diverse as the late-night student visitor and travelers along I-80 who may wish to make a stop and experience the museum.

The design was created by associated architects SO – IL, based in New York City, and the San Francisco offices of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. The contractor is Whiting-Turner, a national construction firm with offices in Folsom and Pleasanton.

The capital budget for the building is $30 million; to outfit the building and create the program will require an additional investment of up to $5 million. Campus officials plan as well to raise philanthropic support for an endowment that will allow museum programming to grow in future years.

More about the design: http://shremmuseum.ucdavis.edu/museum-design/index.html.


Media Resources

Karen Nikos-Rose, Research news (emphasis: arts, humanities and social sciences), 530-219-5472, kmnikos@ucdavis.edu

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