The pandemic-exacerbated financing problems will force the permanent closure of the Michigan modern art museum

Date:

The pandemic-exacerbated financing problems will force

  • news by AUN News correspondent
  • Friday, December 09, 2022
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • Regional museums in the US have been having money problems for a long time, and the COVID-19 outbreak has worsened those problems.

  • The Urban Institute of Contemporary Art (UICA), based in Grand Rapids, said it was the most important place for contemporary art in western Michigan.

  • It will close at the beginning of next year.

  • In 2006, it joined the local non-profit ArtWorks, and seven years later, it joined Kendall College of Art and Design.

  • The museum transferred from its longtime location at 2 Fulton Street West (which Ferris State University sold) to a facility on the campus of Kendall College of Art and Design at the start of the epidemic, where it has remained ever since.

Regional museums in the US have been having money problems for a long time, and the COVID-19 outbreak has worsened those problems. As a result, another art organization has closed. The Urban Institute of Contemporary Art (UICA), based in Grand Rapids, said it was the most important place for contemporary art in western Michigan. It will close at the beginning of next year. The current shows will end on February 11, and the business will close for good on March 3.

Ferris State University, which merged with the museum in 2013, Kendall College of Art and Design, and community donors were all thanked for their help in a statement released on December 8. In a statement, Tara McCrackin, the president of Kendall College, said that the organization “has not been able to get past the problems it faced during the epidemic and has not been able to keep the money it needed to keep running or become sustainable.”

A group of Grand Rapids artists founded UICA in 1977, and it rapidly became a focal point for the city’s artistic scene. When its previous home was destroyed to make way for the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum’s parking structure, it was relocated two years later. Over the next few decades, it moved to different places in the Rust Belt city. In 2006, it joined the local non-profit ArtWorks, and seven years later, it joined Kendall College of Art and Design.

At the start of the epidemic, the museum moved from its longtime home at 2 Fulton Street West, which Ferris State University had sold, to a building on the Kendall College of Art and Design campus, where it has been ever since. The last group of shows includes an installation by the Korean-American sculptor Sun Young Kang and solo shows by the painters David Heo and José Santiago Pérez. Kennedy Yanko, Jessica Campbell, and Larry Cook recently showed.

McCrackin said that even though UICA might be closing, the organization’s creative spirit and commitment to promoting contemporary art and artists in West Michigan would remain. Even after the museum closes, a number of its programs and projects will continue, with Kendall College of Art and Design taking over the management of the annual Holiday Artists Market and its long-standing collaboration with the ArtPrize contemporary art competition (which recently announced its 2023 dates following massive leadership changes).

UICA is not the first museum to close as a result of the financial strain brought on by COVID-19, despite the widespread fear of the mass closure of smaller US institutions with razor-thin budget margins that many had at the beginning of the pandemic having been largely allayed—often at great expense to staff and contract workers. In July of last year, the Santa Barbara Museum of Contemporary Art said it would close for good.

Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network

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