Construction of the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts is near completion, and soon the angular, two-story, zinc, glass and brick building will become home for University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Art and Art History galleries, classrooms and faculty.
Curious visitors and students who have walked by the building on the corner of 13th Street and 10th Avenue South will be able to explore the 26,000-square-foot building in early 2014, when classes are expected to begin there, and an opening exhibit will be on show. Art history, time-based media and graphic design classes, along with administrative offices, will be housed within the building.
The facility is named for lead donors Hal and Judy Abroms, as well as Ruth and the late Marvin Engel.
“We are excited to take this major stride in creating a vibrant nexus of arts and culture for UAB and our entire community,” Watts said. “With its striking architecture and state-of-the-art capacity to house important visual art works and educate students of art and art history, the Abroms-Engel IVA will be an invaluable addition to UAB’s cultural corridor, complementing the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, the William Hansell and Susan Mabry Hulsey Center for Arts and Humanities and the National Alumni Society House. This campus and community can look forward to enjoying world-class exhibitions and cultural events in this marvelous new facility for years to come.”
The AEIVA will attract the best students and faculty to study at UAB, said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Robert Palazzo, Ph.D. “As the Alys Stephens Center has provided the premier venue for cultural entertainment, the IVA will provide that type of venue for fine art, all on the campus of a Carnegie-rated research university.”
Works from UAB’s permanent collection will be housed in the AEIVA, which will have state-of-the-art security and environmental control systems. The new space will allow the works to be stored and displayed safely and securely, said Department of Art and Art History Chair Lauren Lake.
“By clustering the arts disciplines into a centralized arts district, UAB intends to foster collaboration and a sense of community both within the university and in our community,” said Shirley Salloway Kahn, Ph.D., UAB vice president for development, alumni and external relations. “The Alys Stephens Center, the Hulsey Center and the new Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts are the perfect complement of entities to showcase the university’s commitment to arts education, cultural programming and community enrichment.”