Gail and Jeffrey Bayer have committed a most generous gift to the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts (AEIVA) at UAB, honoring the Abroms and Engel families whose support helped make the institute a reality. This gift will be used to name the atrium, which will be the building’s centerpiece.
“Hal and Judy Abroms are mentors to us, and I knew Marvin Engel and have known Ruth Engel all my life,” says Jeffrey Bayer, president and CEO of Bayer Properties. “When Hal and Judy came to us with their vision of what the Institute for the Visual Arts could mean for Birmingham and asked us to join them in making it a reality, we felt their passion for the project.”
The idea was compelling to the Bayers, and they were further motivated by Mrs. Bayer’s deep appreciation of the arts. “Gail fell in love with the project and shared the passion that Hal and Judy have for it,” Mr. Bayer says. “I also believe that UAB is the economic engine that drives the state, and so we made the decision to make this gift.”
“I feel the arts are extremely important to a community,” says Mrs. Bayer, who is on the advisory board of UAB’s Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center (ASC) and was on the board of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. “When we met with the architect and Theresa Bruno, it was their description of what this project will mean not only for UAB but also for Birmingham, the state, and the entire region that sold me. They were able to bring it to life and show us how truly meaningful it will be.”
The AEIVA will enhance education and training for art students and educate non-art students about the importance of the visual arts in their lives, inspiring them to become future arts patrons. Situated across the street from the ASC, the 26,000-square-foot facility will add to a cultural corridor on the UAB campus to include the AEIVA, the ASC, and the William Hansell and Susan Mabry Hulsey Center for Arts and Humanities at UAB. This close proximity will develop a greater sense of community for students and faculty and offer opportunities for collaboration and interaction with other arts agencies in the city.
“We are so grateful to Gail and Jeffrey for their generous and meaningful gift,” says Shirley Salloway Kahn, Ph.D., vice president for development, alumni, and external relations. “Thanks to the Bayers, the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts will add another prominent Birmingham family name to this state-of-the-art facility that will support and showcase the visual arts at UAB, in our community, and in our region.”
The AEIVA, designed by renowned architect Randall Stout, will be a valued addition to the UAB campus and Birmingham’s cultural arts community. It will provide dedicated gallery, classroom, and learning space as well as an atmosphere that encourages creativity and inspiration, exposing both young and old to the excitement and wonder of the arts.