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Muskegon Museum of Art caps 100 years with vision for the future





The Muskegon Museum of Art is determined to continue its 100-year legacy of bringing fine art to West Michigan and the Midwest. To that end, the museum has launched the public phase of Muskegon County's largest capital campaign ever -- a $7.5 million effort to secure enough funding for the museum to build its endowment funds, establish several years of support for programming and exhibits, and to cover roof repairs and a new HVAC system for the museum's century-old building (296 W. Webster).

"This museum is perceived as a regional asset and is a testament to the people in the region who understand the value of art and an art community," says Executive Director Judith Hayner. "The Muskegon board of education's stewardship for 100 years has been nothing short of remarkable."

The museum hosts over 30,000 visitors a year and has 6,000 works of art dating from the 13th century to today, including American, European and African-American paintings and sculptures, plus a collection of contemporary studio glass. Nearly 120 pieces were donated for the 100th anniversary.

Hayner says the museum was the "first and only museum in America in a town of 30,000 or less built expressly to hold art" thanks to $150,000 Muskegon pioneer Charles Hackley provisioned in his will to buy "pictures of the best kind." In 1912, the school board decided to construct a place to house them. Since then, the Muskegon Museum of Art has been under the purview of the Muskegon Public Schools' Board of Education, which will end in 2014 when the museum becomes an independent nonprofit.

"The campaign is the center part of our planning (toward the separation) to make sure we have more resources underneath us going forward," Hayner says.

Thus far, the campaign has raised $5.72 million. To learn more about the fundraising campaign, click here.

Source: Judith Hayner, Muskegon Museum of Art
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
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