The Norman Transcript


October 24, 2011

Years of labor put into new art wing

NORMAN — The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art director blended with museum visitors Sunday as they sat in fascination and watched Tony Abeyta create a painting from scratch.

Ghislain d’Humieres was impressed by Abeyta’s artistic skill and audience interaction, but it wasn’t the reason why the museum director looked so happy.

Sunday marked the culmination of the museum’s opening of the 18,000-square-foot Stuart Wing. Groups, families and individuals arrived in droves to see the new and renovated areas.

“This is the epitome of the whole weekend, Community and Family Day, seeing so many families come and take ownership of this institution,” d’Humieres said.

“We worked hard for four years for today,” he said, “and I hope to see a lot more people come for the educational programs and everything else the museum has to offer.”

Museum spokesman Michael Bendure estimated that at least 2,000 people had visited Saturday and Sunday, when the museum offered free admission to celebrate the new wing.

The Stuart Wing was built atop the museum’s original building for $13 million.

Bendure said about 8,000 square feet houses a large part of the Eugene B. Adkins Collection of Taos, N.M., and American Indian artists, about 4,000 square feet is dedicated to a photographic exhibit, and the rest is for administrative offices and storage space for museum items that currently are not on display. Visitors can see many of those items through a window wall.

Architect Rand Elliott designed a “lot of visual cues and metaphors” throughout the new wing and renovation that add even more artistry to the museum, Bendure said.

Norman resident Faith Prout would agree.

“The space itself is very lifting; it has a lifting effect, and the artwork is displayed beautifully,” she said while strolling through the new wing. “It’s finally open, and Norman has really shown up for it.”

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