Ferris-Magazine-Fall-2013 - page 39

FALL 2013
38
Timing has been critical in creating Kendall’s unique urban campus.
The Beaux Art Woodbridge N. Ferris Building was built in 1909-11
and vacant for four years after the Grand Rapids Art Museum moved
out of the space when it built a new facility in 2007. In the case of
the UICA, the arts organization opened a new $8-million home on
Fulton Street, but the move came during the worst of the economic
downturn. With debts and monthly expenses outpacing its income,
the UICA was on a path to closing its doors until Kendall and a group
of area philanthropists stepped in.
“The UICA sits at the heart of the city,” noted Kendall President
David Rosen, whose first-year leadership of Kendall has been marked
by this rapid expansion. “That is appropriate, because the heart of our
community is its creativity. UICA provides a hub for all who thrive
in the creative environment. Any city that wants to be great needs a
UICA. It would have been terrible to lose that resource.”
Recent exhibitions have included architecture, sculpture, video, and
interactive installations. Donors’ extraordinary commitment to pay
off debt on the new building and the response of the community to
UICA’s mission has made the merger possible.
“A steadfast group of key donors is bringing UICA to its next iteration
with Kendall/Ferris,” said Kate Pew Wolters, one of those key donors
and a long-time supporter of UICA. “Significant donor partnerships
and community collaborations in West Michigan have once again
come together to keep and enhance leading-edge arts and culture in
the heart of the city. We would not be in this position today without
the help of these donors and community-minded citizens.”
“Grand Rapids is a growing city with a growing appreciation
of, and dependence upon, its creative culture. Despite the many
past accomplishments of both Kendall and the UICA, today’s
announcement is all about looking forward and embracing the
possibilities this new partnership opens up,” said Eisler.
The UICA/Kendall merger creates some unique prospects for
Kendall students. Executive director Miranda Krajniak expressed
her excitement at the assistantship and internship possibilities the
merger has opened up. “I have already written up a proposal for how
Kendall students can get involved at UICA. Having that solid arts
administration experience on your resume will be very attractive to
lots of different kinds of employers.”
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