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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU receives historic gift of $35 million to build art museum

Old Dominion University today announced plans for a new art museum that will become an educational and cultural resource for students, faculty, staff and the Hampton Roads community.

President John R. Broderick said the museum will be built with donations from benefactors Richard and Carolyn Barry valued over time at more than $35 million, the largest gift in ODU's history. The Barrys will bestow their multifaceted art collection to serve as the museum's initial foundation, and they will also provide operating support through pledged annual gifts and a permanent endowment from their estates.

The Studio Art Glass movement is the focus of the Barrys' collection, which encompasses more than 100 sculptural objects by such internationally renowned artists as 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 contains 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.

In addition, the museum will display about 50 important 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.

Broderick said that the new museum will significantly enhance the University's strong commitment to the arts.

"The Barrys' gift allows ODU to become one of Hampton Roads' major cultural destinations," Broderick said. "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."

To house the museum, a building will be constructed - in partnership with the ODU Real Estate Foundation - on the east corner of Hampton Boulevard and 43rd Street, adjacent to the Ted Constant Convocation Center and diagonally across from the new Darden College of Education Building, positioning it as a gateway to the main campus. Groundbreaking for the new building is expected in 2017 and 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.

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.

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.

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