Colorado State University Celebrates the Opening of the State-of-the-Art University Art Museum April 2

Note to Editors: Members of the media interested in a preview of the University Art Museum before the grand opening, please contact Kimberly Sorensen at to schedule a tour.

Colorado State University celebrates the opening of the University Art Museum, one of the centerpieces of the new University Center for the Arts, with a ribbon-cutting and reception from 7 – 9 p.m. Thursday, April 2. The campus and local communities are invited to the free opening reception and exhibits, as well as a variety of opening week events and an art alumni reunion at the University Center for the Arts, 1400 Remington St. in Fort Collins.

The museum, located in the old Fort Collins High School, completes the renovated historic structure and brings diverse exhibitions and programs from CSU’s Department of Art to the multi-disciplinary center which also houses the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance. In a single facility, easily accessible to both campus and community, visitors can explore both the visual and performing arts.

"The museum will establish an integrated learning environment emphasizing enhanced creative synergies among the artistic disciplines within the School of the Arts. This will raise regional, national and internationally awareness of the level of excellence in the present undergraduate and graduate programs in art, dance, music and theatre," said Gary Voss, chairman of the Department of Art and co-director of the School of the Arts.

Located through the UCA’s historic entrance, the museum features four discrete galleries that offer flexibility for the installation of small or large exhibitions in a 4,000 square-foot space. It also features a small gift shop with work by graduate and undergraduate students. The museum is augmented by teaching facilities and an additional 4,000 square feet of state-of-the-art collection storage facilities and exhibition preparation spaces.

The exhibition, storage and preparation areas are equipped with museum-standard climate control systems, lighting and security and are designed to safely exhibit and store works of art at ideal temperature and humidity levels. The proximity of teaching facilities for art history allows access for coordinated study of the collections.

"The opening of the University Art Museum is a milestone for the visual arts and CSU," said Museum Director Linny Frickman. "Having a home for our growing permanent collection and museum-standard exhibition spaces for this collection and for incoming loans and traveling exhibitions, has been the dream of many faculty members, alumni and friends of the Department of Art for decades. We are delighted to realize the dream and even more delighted to do so at the University Center for the Art where our visitors can partake of programming in multiple arts disciplines."  

Grand Opening Exhibits

The new University Art Museum has a 12-month schedule with rotating exhibitions that honor diverse cultures and aesthetic traditions. Open from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, the museum initially features three exhibits:

"Reflection, Refraction, Reconfiguration: Images from the Collection of Polly and Mark Addison," April 2 – June 13. Contemporary art collectors and museum donors, Polly and Mark Addison, generously loan a selection of works of art from the late 20th century and early 21st century to inaugurate the large gallery in the museum. The exhibit looks at art works that – through the lens of the camera, through digital manipulation, or through the hands of the artist – reconfigure imagery in order to reflect upon contemporary issues. The exhibition features works by a number of important contemporary figures from around the globe including Mel Chin, Jeanne Dunning, Jana Sterbak, Mona Hatoum and William Kentridge.

"African Art: Highlights from the Permanent Collection," April 2 – Sept. 25. Composed of objects from the University Art Museum’s permanent collection, this exhibit features pieces that illustrate the rich artistic traditions of Africa. Examples of jewelry, textiles and sculpture, generously donated by the Carlen, DeVore, Garst and Udall families, will be featured in the museum’s central gallery.

"A Floating World: The Art of the Japanese Print," April 2 – June 13. The first exhibit in the museum’s intimate gallery examines 19th-century Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints. Ukiyo-e, which means "pictures of a fleeting, floating world," capture the changing nature of modern society in Japan. The works on display in this exhibition came to the museum through the generous gifts of George and Alice Drake and Editha Todd Leonard.

In addition to these three exhibitions, recent and promised gifts to the museum will be showcased in the back gallery.

Additional Grand Opening Events

In addition to the ribbon cutting and opening reception on Thursday, April 2, the opening celebration includes a gala dinner, a keynote speaker and a symposium all in conjunction with an Art Alumni Reunion.

The University Art Museum and board present "Little Secrets: Significant Works – A Gala Fundraising Dinner and Auction" at 7 p.m. Friday, April 3 in the Instrumental Rehearsal Hall, UCA. Reservations are required and tickets are $100.The gala features anonymous works by alumni, faculty and "secret" nationally known guests – the artist will only be revealed once a work is purchased. These works will be sold via silent auction during the gala, benefiting the University Art Museum Endowment which supports the facility, programming and collection care. Sponsors of the Little Secrets gala are Jim and Wendy Franzen, Healing Arts Family Medicine and Center for Advanced Dentistry, Gary and Judy Voss, Department of Art and faculty, College of Liberal Arts, and Liley Rogers and Martell LLC.

To reserve a seat, register at

A keynote guest artist lecture entitled, "New Beginnings at the End" will be presented by nationally renowned artist Mel Chin at 5 p.m. Friday, April 3 in the Griffin Concert Hall, UCA. Known for his socially involved practice, his current project, "Safehouse," investigates and attempts to find solutions for lead contamination in post-Katrina New Orleans. Chin has been the recipient of a number of prestigious awards including a Rockefeller Foundation Grant, the Creative Capital Grant, and the Pollock/Krasner Foundation Fellowship. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The annual Front Range Symposium in the History of Art takes place from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 4 in Room 158, UCA. This annual symposium, traditionally held at the Denver Art Museum, is hosted this year by the CSU Department of Art. Students will be presenting papers that represent the best in art historical scholarship from colleges and universities along the Colorado Front Range.

The Department of Art welcomes alumni to campus for an Art Alumni Reunion, April 2 – 4. In addition to the University Art Museum opening events at the University Center for the Arts, reunion events take place in the Hatton Gallery in the CSU Visual Arts Building on Lake Street. These events are open to the public. The graduate student open studio tours are 3-5 p.m. Saturday, April 4. The Hatton Gallery History of the Art Department exhibition and reception is 5-7 p.m. Saturday, April 4. The Art Department open house is 1-4 p.m. Sunday, April 5.

About the University Center for the Arts

The UCA project was completed in three phases that began in 1995 when Fort Collins High School closed its doors and the university purchased the building. The opening of the University Art Museum marks the completion of the third and final phase of the University Center for the Arts. Funding for the building was largely secured through a vote by CSU’s student body government. Associated Students for Colorado State University voted to increase student fees in the spring of 2005, which provided $29.6 million for the project. The remainder of the funding came from private donations including the Bohemian Foundation, Griffin Foundation, Kenneth and Myra Monfort Founding and the Serimus Foundation.

Additionally, the University Art Museum has received donations from the Colorado Council on the Arts, the City of Fort Collins Fort Fund, the Lilla B. Morgan Memorial Fund, the Editha Todd Leonard Trust at the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, and the FUNd at CSU and from many private donors, providing support for the facility, programming and collection care.  

"We are deeply grateful to these donors and to the students of Colorado State for funding the University Center for the Arts," said Ann Gill, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. "We now dedicate ourselves to the challenge of taking the arts programs and performances to amazing new heights. Everything we achieve in this new space will be in honor of their investment in our future."