Sam Fox to open new building, re-open Kemper Art Museum for fall 2019
The Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts will re-open the Kemper Art Museum and open a new building for the 2019-2020 academic year Sept. 28.
The renovations are two parts of the eight-component $280 million East End transformation that began in 2017.
The new building, named the Anabeth and John Weil Hall, will support 30 Master of Fine Arts (MFA) studios. Previously, graduate students studied off campus in University City’s Lewis Center. The new facilities will allow graduates and undergraduates to study on the same campus for the first time.
Carmon Colangelo, the Ralph J. Nagel Dean of Sam Fox, said that the opportunity will be beneficial for learning in the long-run.
“Peer learning is a big part of an education at the University. I think the opportunity for both graduates and undergraduates to be together just allows for that kind of learning to happen,” Colangelo said. “I think it’s just going to establish a great environment for collaboration and interdisciplinarity that, at a research university, is what we’re hoping to achieve. I’m excited about how it all comes back together again.”
Associate Dean of Sam Fox Nicole Allen said that she believes the time spent on construction was worthwhile for both Kemper Art Museum and Weil Hall.
“We’ve really dreamt about this for quite a long time,” Allen said. “You work on it for a long time, and you think about it, and you talk to the architects and you see the drawings but I don’t think anything can probably compare to being in there and feeling the energy. I’m just excited to see how the students react to and start to enjoy that space.”
The renovations to Kemper Art Museum, which was closed for the 2018-2019 school year, will include a 50% increase of public display space and a 34-foot-tall stainless steel facade. The reopening will also feature “Bare Life,” an exhibition dedicated to the work of the artist Ai Weiwei.
Katie Engelmeyer, a senior who has worked as a security attendant at the Kemper Art Museum for the past four years, said she is excited for the museum to reopen. Engelmeyer recommended that students visit it in the fall.
“I think in general, the Kemper is highly underrated,” Engelmeyer said. “I think people should come visit it more – it’s so cool, and it’s free, and it’s just a really great resource. They work really hard to do some really cool things there.”
Kemper Director and Chief Curator Sabine Eckmann is hopeful that the renovations will attract more visitors and make the museum more visible, improving the reputation of Kemper and Sam Fox nationwide.
“I hope it will garner more interest in the humanities, and also make [visitors] think about why art is important and in which ways art can contribute to our understanding of who we are today,” Eckmann said.