Archive for Sunday, August 15, 1999


August 15, 1999


Money needs to be raised before ground can be broken for the museum's expansion project.

Andrea Norris has a clear vision of what she wants to accomplish when considering the floor plans for the expansion of the Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art on the Kansas University campus.

Not only does she want more space to broaden teaching opportunities and allow more art exhibitions, but she also wants the expansion's architecture to clearly state that the museum welcomes visitors.

"We want to find ways of opening it to the community and ways to incorporate the museum in their daily lives," Norris, the director of the museum, said. "" I would very much like to open it up to visitors and express that it's open to the university."

Norris is working with a New York architectural firm in developing floor plans for the expansion, which will affect the museum's galleries, offices and storage spaces, and KU's art history department and the art library.

"We are deciding where the new addition will be and the relationship to the current building," she said.

"There's no architect chosen yet, and we need to raise money before that is done," she added. "" We raised the money for the architectural program and are looking for potential supporters for the project and hope it will be a major part of KU's capital campaign."

Norris would like to see a public space in the museum that students, faculty members and campus visitors could walk through to get from the parking lot by Memorial Stadium to Louisiana Street. The space, as she envisions it, would have an abundance of natural light and contain a cafe, bookshop and small galleries.

Norris said the expansion proposal calls for 80,634 additional square feet. The museum currently covers 95,068 square feet.

The proposed percentage of increase is 80 percent for the museum and 90 percent for the art history department and art library, she said.

"One of the things that's amazing about this building now is that it functions as well as any museum I've seen anywhere," she said. "" We want to expand but maintain the convenience, ease and safety of the building."

Norris said the expansion is expected to be completed in about five years.

"It's an enormous opportunity for the university and the museum to reach out to more audiences, to share the wonderful art that we have with a wider community and to provide more opportunities to study what we have better."

-- Jan Biles' phone message number is 832-7146. Her e-mail address is

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