UI to name new Museum of Art after Stanley family

UI to name new Museum of Art after Stanley family

When the University of Iowa's next Museum of Art opens in 2019, it'll be named for a Muscatine benefactor.

UI officials on Wednesday announced the new building planned for Madison Street next to the UI Main Library will be named the Stanley Museum of Art in honor of Richard and Mary Jo Stanley, who have pledged $10 million to the project. The Iowa Board of Regents Property and Facilities Committee gave approval to the naming request on Wednesday and the full board is likely to follow suit at its next meeting.

Richard Stanley had been president and chairman of his family's Muscatine-based engineering consulting business while also serving as chair of the Stanley Foundation. He earned a graduate degree from the UI in sanitary engineering. He passed away last month at the age of 85.

Mary Jo Stanley remains on the foundation's board of directors.

The Museum of Art has been on a constant tour since being evacuated from its former home during the 2008 Flood. The UI's art insurer, Lloyds of London, has said it will not insure art if the museum returned to its former location and the UI has been on the hunt for a permanent home since.

The university had agreed to enter a public-private partnership to build a new museum at the southeast corner of Burlington and Clinton streets in Iowa City. But the university pulled out of that partnership last year, citing cost concerns. Officials then announced plans for the new location adjacent to Gibson Square at a cost of $50 million.

The UI is also in the midst of searching for a new director for the museum. Sean O'Harrow, who had been UIMA director since 2010, resigned in January to take a position with the Honolulu Museum of Art.

Former Congressman and visiting law professor Jim Leach is serving as interim director until a full-time replacement is hired. Officials have said they want to make that selection by the end of the year.
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