ODU receives $35 million gift to build art museum

Posted at 10:50 AM, Jun 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-08 10:50:32-04

NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion University has announced plans to build a new art museum on campus, thanks to a $35 million donation from benefactors Richard and Carolyn Barry.

The donations, which will add up over time to $35 million, will make up the largest gift in ODU’s history.

The Barrys will also bestow their art collection to serve as the museum’s initial foundation, and will also provide operating support through pledged annual gifts and a permanent endowment from their estates.

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Richard and Carolyn Barry (Courtesy: ODU)

Richard Barry had a 40-year career at Landmark Media Enterprises and its predecessor, Landmark Communications, where he served in various positions, most recently as Vice Chairman.  He served as Rector of ODU’s Board of Visitors during the 1980s.

Carolyn Barry is a longtime art collector.  She is currently a master docent at the Chrysler Museum of Art, specializing in glass, and she also serves on the Museum’s board of trustees.

The focus of the Barrys’ collection is the Studio Art Glass movement, which includes more than 100 sculptural objects by internationally renowned artists like Dale Chihuly, Lino Tagliapietra, Harvey Littleton, Howard Ben Tré, Dan Dailey, Ginny Ruffner, Michael Glancy, Laura Donefer, Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova.

Their collection also includes works by well-known American modernist painters, including Arthur B. Carles, Marsden Hartley, Milton Avery, George Luks, Preston Dickinson, Morgan Russell, John Marin, Blanche Lazzell, Rockwell Kent, Alfred Mauer and Wolf Kahn.

“The Barrys’ gift allows ODU to become one of Hampton Roads’ major cultural destinations,” said ODU President John R. Broderick.  “Their collection tells a story about the rise of American glass artists to the forefront of the international scene.  The new museum will frame this story beautifully, while providing a starting point for other stories yet to be told.  We are extremely grateful to Carolyn and Dick.”

The new museum will also include approximately 50 paintings, drawings and prints, including works by former ODU faculty A.B. Jackson and Charles Sibley, that are now in the University’s general collection.

A new building will be constructed to house the building, in partnership with the ODU Real Estate Foundation. It will be located on the corner of Hampton Boulevard and 43rd Street, adjacent to the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

Groundbreaking is expected in 2017, with a grand opening projected for 2018.

Initial concepts by Saunders + Crouse Architects call for a 24,000-square-foot, two-story building, with room for expansion.  It will provide galleries for the permanent collection, as well as a large changing gallery for faculty and traveling exhibitions.  Architectural glass will be a defining feature of the building’s exterior.  The building will also function as an educational asset not only for ODU’s undergraduate and graduate arts programs, but for other, related disciplines, as well as the general education curriculum.  New academic and community programs will be developed in conjunction with the museum and its collections.

Rendering of ODU art museum from Saunders + Crouse Architects

Rendering of ODU art museum from Saunders + Crouse Architects

According to Broderick, the museum is intended to complement Hampton Roads’ already rich array of artistic and cultural institutions, including the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Hermitage Museum and Gardens and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.  He expects that, in the future, alumni and friends of ODU will donate works from their own holdings.  Like the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William and Mary and the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, ODU’s new art museum will become a destination for alumni, the community at large and visitors to the area.