Donation Helps UC Davis Build $30 Million Art Museum
(04/04/2012)

DAVIS, Calif. — The University of California at Davis has received a $10 million donation for a new art museum that will cost an estimated total of $30 million.

The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Farrow Museum of Art, named after its latest donors, will serve as a teaching and cultural resource for UCD students, faculty and staff when it is completed in 2015. The 40,000-square-foot museum will house the university’s more than 4,000 works of art, which includes pieces by former art department faculty such as Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Arneson, Roy De Forest and William T. Wiley.

“The museum will build upon the university’s long tradition of excellence in the arts, serve as a source of rich learning opportunities for our students, and provide inspiration to generations of artists,” said Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. “We are very grateful for this extraordinary commitment and for Jan and Maria’s vision and partnership in the creation of a museum of the art at UC Davis.”

The museum will be designed by architect Michael Graves and built on a 1.6-acre site near the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, the UC Davis Conference Center and Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. Hall, home of the university’s Graduate School of Management.

The $10 million contribution will cover one-third of the total building costs and allow the university to begin the design phase. Another $15 million will come from private philanthropic gifts.

The school will not use student tuition, fees or state funds for construction of the museum. UC Davis plans to raise between $5 million and $20 million in additional private gifts for the museum, including an endowment to support museum programs.

The $10 million gift is one of the largest the university has ever received for the arts.

Donor Manetti Farrow is a grower and collector of fine wines and produces premium balsamic vinegar and award-winning olive oils served at some of the finest restaurants in the country.

“Both Jan and I came to this country as young people, more or less the same age as the students at UC Davis,” Farrow said. “And we both remember what it was like to begin life all over again in a new world, where education was our salvation and the arts were our greatest joy. Everything that is being planned for the new museum of art suggests it will become an integral part of the university, the curriculum and the community. We also believe it will become the heart of the campus, a place where people can come to study, to learn, to look and to be moved by the beauty and strength of the arts.”

The museum could fuel new academic programs for students at the school, such as museum studies, curatorial and preservation studies, and house an archive of artists’ papers and materials for future study, said Jessie Ann Owens, dean of UC Davis’ Division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies.

“A university museum will allow students to experience works of art first-hand in a way that is not possible with reproductions,” said Wayne Thiebaud, professor emeritus of the arts at UC Davis. “It is this kind of experience that is essential to the university’s teaching mission. As a teacher, I am delighted to know that this gift will make the museum a reality.”

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