Envisioning an Enriched Future for the Arts

By Lisa C. Bailey


JUDY AND HAL ABROMS AND RUTH AND MARVIN ENGEL have played vital roles in the founding, funding, and success of multiple UAB programs and initiatives. And now their generous combined commitment of funds totaling $5 million will enable construction and establishment of the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts at UAB.

Situated across the street from UAB’s Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center, the 26,000-square-foot facility will be in the vicinity of the Department of Theatre, the Department of Music, and the other visual-arts disciplines in the Humanities Building, creating a UAB Cultural Arts District. 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. “From its earliest conceptual stages, the Institute for the Visual Arts has enjoyed the steadfast enthusiasm and support of the Abroms and Engel families,” says Bert Brouwer, past dean of the former UAB School of Arts and Humanities, now part of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The center will educate, inform, and enrich the lives of a broad audience of UAB students, artists, educators, elementary and high-school students, and all those interested in the arts. It also will expand UAB’s role as an educational, social, and cultural leader by providing educational programs and challenging exhibitions for a broad-based audience within our region and state.”

The state-of-the-art facility, designed by renowned architect Randall Stout, will provide dedicated gallery, classroom, and learning space as well as an atmosphere that encourages creativity and inspiration. It will also allow for more collaboration with other arts agencies such as the Birmingham Museum of Art and Space One Eleven.