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Richard and Mary Jo Stanley commit $10 million to the new University of Iowa Museum of Art building

December 6, 2017

The University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art will be named in honor of this transformational gift and the Stanley family’s longtime commitment to the museum.

Richard (Dick) and Mary Jo Stanley, of Muscatine, Iowa, have committed $10 million to support the building campaign for the University of Iowa Museum of Art. The gift, which comes from two generations of the family, will help create a new museum and permanent home for one of the country’s leading university art collections. In honor of the transformational gift, the museum will be renamed the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art.

The generosity of Dick, who recently passed, and Mary Jo Stanley is well documented across campus and includes support for Hancher Auditorium and the UI College of Engineering as well as the UI Museum of Art. Dick earned his master’s degree in engineering from the UI in 1963.

A portion of the gift comes from the estate of Dick Stanley’s parents, C. Maxwell and Elizabeth Stanley, who developed one of the country’s finest and most well-respected collections of African art, which they donated to the museum in 1985. The Stanley Collection of African Art continues to be an important resource for research at the UI and for scholars from around the world. C. Maxwell Stanley earned his bachelor’s degree (1926) and his master’s degree (1930) in engineering from the UI, and Elizabeth Stanley earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the UI in 1927.

“The Stanley family has made an indelible mark on our university—and on the art world—and we are proud to name the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art in honor of their gift,” says UI President J. Bruce Harreld. “Today, our university is stronger because of the Stanleys. With Dick’s recent passing, the university has lost one of our strongest advocates and supporters. He will be greatly missed.”

The museum project is the final structural recovery on the UI campus in the aftermath of the devastating 2008 floods. It will complete a vibrant arts campus—with world-class facilities—that serves the university, the community, and the state. The $50 million, 63,000-square-foot museum will host exhibitions from the museum’s collection and provide space for study, research, and storage of artwork, allowing the museum to continue serving all of Iowa through traveling exhibitions and programming.

“The decision to name the museum in the Stanleys’ honor is particularly appropriate; their generous monetary pledge, announced today, comes on top of a multi-decade array of family sculptural donations that are the heart of the university’s 2,400-piece African collection,” says Jim Leach, interim director of the UI Museum of Art. “When future generations visit the museum and see uplifting art from every corner of the world, they also will be witnessing the philanthropic impact of model citizens within and outside the state. In this galaxy of cultural generosity, as well as international humanism, Dick and Mary Jo have few peers. The university is deeply grateful.”

“For more than 50 years, Dick and Mary Jo’s inspirational volunteerism and generosity have had a profound impact on our students, faculty, and community,” says Lynette Marshall, president and CEO of the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. “The University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art honors their exemplary citizenship in our university community and is a wonderful tribute to their lives of service and giving.”

Funding for the new UI Museum of Art will come from a mix of private support and bonds. The university cannot exhibit UI and visiting art collections in the former UI Museum of Art building due to immediate proximity to the Iowa River and related insurance limitations. In addition, replacement of the museum does not qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency funds because the building remains structurally viable for other purposes.

Museum construction will begin in 2018, with a planned public opening in 2020. Until the new museum opens its doors, exhibitions will continue to be held in a dedicated space in the Iowa Memorial Union and at the Figge Museum in Davenport, Iowa. Other portions of the collection, including the museum’s renowned Jackson Pollock, Mural, will continue to travel for viewing at other museums. The museum will be called the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art beginning in the spring of 2018.

About the University of Iowa Museum of Art

The University of Iowa Museum of Art’s mission is to advance education and research in the fields of art and art history in ways that contribute to and enhance the academic mission of the University of Iowa. The museum collects, conserves, and exhibits major works of art in order to teach its constituents—including university students, faculty, and staff; the Iowa City community; the people of the state of Iowa; and visitors from around the world—how to better understand and appreciate art and civilizations from across the globe.

For more information about the building campaign for the University of Iowa Museum of Art, visit foriowa.org/mymuseum.

Contact: Dana Larson, executive director, communications and marketing, the University of Iowa Center for Advancement, 319-467-3661, 917-345-9841 (mobile), dana.larson@foriowa.org.