California State University, Long Beach
Inside CSULB Logo

University Art Museum Celebrates Grand Opening

Published: February 2, 2015

The Jessica Rath: A Better Nectar exhibit at the UAM event.

The university just celebrated the grand opening of a new plaza and for the first time ever a permanent collection gallery to its University Art Museum (UAM). The event featured three new exhibitions: Jessica Rath: A Better Nectar, Consumed and MOCA 8.

The new plaza and permanent collection gallery were supported by $850,000 in private donations. The grand opening concludes six months of construction. The renovations include a new easy-to-find entrance and plaza that will attract and welcome visitors to the museum as well as a 3,000-square-foot expansion of the galleries for the display of the museum’s permanent collection. A full series of related educational programming, including lectures and film screenings will accompany the exhibitions.

“We’re really excited about what this means for the museum and the campus. The new plaza and gallery expansion has made us much more visible and now our primary goal is to be available as a cultural resource to the campus and the community,” said Brian Trimble, interim director of the museum. “We’re working hard across campus to make interdisciplinary connections and build relationships to connect with the learning that happens at CSULB. We have great exhibitions, a beautiful space for gathering and a fantastic permanent collection that we look forward to sharing with students and scholars.”

The expansion was designed by renowned Los Angeles-based architect Fred Fisher and Partners, a nationally known architect of the project, who designed a landscape artwork titled “Room,” which used Italian cypress trees to delineate an outdoor room for sculpture. The new plaza design reinforces that original idea to frame a multi-purpose space for casual gathering, events and sculptural installations.

The exhibitions are Jessica Rath: A Better Nectar, an expansive multisensory installation using sculpture, light and sound; Consumed, curated by the museum and the curatorial studies graduate program; and MOCA 8, the inaugural edition in the new permanent gallery. The exhibitions will be on display from Jan. 27 to April 12.

The goal of the new plaza is to provide a space for student activities, including concerts, performances, receptions, Wi-Fi, and, of course, museum programs. The museum’s new permanent gallery expansion into the east wing of the Steve and Nini Horn Center will significantly increase the exhibition space and, for the first time in the museum’s history, will allow for the regular display of works from the permanent collection, including the first opportunity in 15 years to put a selection of the Gordon F. Hampton Collection on long-term display.

In addition to offering programs for students, the museum hosts 40,000 to 50,000 visitors annually. Ranked in the top 10 percent of the nation’s more than 16,000 museums, it also is recognized among the best in the state by the California Arts Council.

The museum collaborates with the community, including the Long Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Long Beach, YMCA Change Agent Productions, Arts Council for Long Beach, Long Beach Unified School District, Aquarium of the Pacific, Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden, Long Beach Museum of Art and Museum of Latin American Art. It offers a variety of education programs and tours for community groups, K-12 classes, the public and the university.

For more information, visit the UAM website.

–Ken Swisher