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Wednesday, August 27, 2003
 
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Private gifts fund renovations at the Kennedy Museum of Art

ATHENS, Ohio (Sept. 20, 2005) -- Generous gifts from several alumni will fund the renovation of the second floor of Lin Hall into a multi-purpose educational space, which are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2006. Miller/Watson Architects, Ltd. of Columbus has been hired to complete the renovations.

College of Fine Arts alumna Christine Demler-Brown (BFA '68), her husband Richard H. Brown (BSC '69) and Wilfred R. Konneker (BS '43, MS '47) to Ohio University's Kennedy Museum of Art (KMA) have made the donation.

The Browns met at Ohio when Richard was working as a busboy in Christine's sorority house(Alpha Delta Pi) and were married in September 1969. Richard is the former chairman and CEO of Electronic Data Systems (EDS), which is headquartered in Plano, Texas. He received an honorary doctorate from Ohio in 1996. Christine Demler-Brown is a longtime Friend of the Kennedy Museum and has a particular interest in the museum's collection of southwest Native American art.

"Ohio University was instrumental in shaping my view of the world," said Demler-Brown. "As important, I gained an understanding and appreciation of art. It has remained with me to this day. My hope is that this facility will provide opportunities for students of the arts to test their skills and experiment with their imaginations."

Konneker, a long-time university benefactor, was a pioneer in the early years of nuclear physics and worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II. After earning a Ph.D. from Washington University, he co-founded seven companies and has been a leading expert in the use of radioisotopes in diagnostic and therapeutic medicine. He received an honorary doctorate from Ohio in 1980.

The $425,000 renovation will expand and enhance the Kennedy Museum's educational programming for the university and the community. It will be used to create a research library for scholars interested in investigating the museum's archives, including one-of-a-kind archival materials from the Edwin L. and Ruth E. Kennedy Southwest Native American Art Collection. The renovated space, which will be named in Demler-Brown's honor, will preserve and feature Lin Hall's existing architecture.

"All of us at the Kennedy Museum of Art are thrilled that this generous gift will allow us to renovate the second floor of beautiful Lin Hall, and it could not have come at a better time," said Paul Legris, KMA John B. and Dareth A. Gerlach Director. "Renovation is expected be completed by the end of 2006, just in time for KMA's 10th-year anniversary celebration."

KMA educational programs serve the mission of the museum as well as Ohio University by focusing on formal and informal learning activities that foster undergraduate and graduate educational, research and creative activity, and public service.

"These programs are designed to make KMA an accessible resource for students and teachers throughout southeastern Ohio," said Sally Delgado, education curator at KMA. "We are thrilled to be moving to a space that is already beautifully designed and filled with natural light."

Primary and secondary schoolteachers at all levels – from pre-school to high school – work with KMA staff in planning field trips to the museum for programming that is linked to their curriculums. Students studying art education, visual communication, art history, and studio art at Ohio work with KMA to generate new ideas for educational programming each fall. Early childhood majors and pre-service educators also visit KMA as an introduction to using museums as resources for teaching. The new second floor space will allow these collaborative outreach programs to grow, said Legris.

Scheduled to begin this fall, the renovation will provide clean studio classrooms that will be in closer proximity to the education and main galleries, which will facilitate programming. The new space also will accommodate multi-media presentations, computer activities, writing and discussion activities, and activities with the hands-on collection.

"This space will also allow enough room for public presentations and demonstrations. The museum currently uses galleries or hallway spaces for these types of programs," said Delgado.

The research library will be accessible by appointment to faculty, students, Friends of the Kennedy, and the public. It will hold the museum's archives, provide a database station networked to KMA's system and a research workspace.

"The new research library will protect the museum's valuable archival resources and its rare book collection while significantly enhancing the museum's ability to share these resources with scholars and students of Southwest Native American art," said Jennifer McLerran, curator at KMA.

The Kennedy Museum of Art will be giving guided tours of the space to be renovated during the first Fundraiser/Membership Drive Gala at 6:30 p.m., Oct. 15, at 6:30 p.m. at Lin Hall in Athens. For more information and tickets, call (740) 593-1304.

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Media Contact: Kennedy Museum of Art John B. and Dareth A. Gerlach Director Paul Legris, (740) 597-1811 or legrisp@ohio.edu

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