Jan. 4 2012 12:00 AM

Director Michael Rush says the $40 million-plus Michigan State University project 'will be like nothing else'


(This week City Pulse launches a biweekly series leading up to the opening of the Eli and Edith Broad Museum on April 21. This week’s is written by the director, Michael Rush.)

I can hardly believe that our Road to the Broad is rapidly becoming a high-speed super highway with our opening only four months away! As we think of the museum being a huge part of our new year, the word “happy” takes on a whole new meaning.  When my new friends here in the Lansing area talk about the upcoming museum, they tend to get a little excited, talk a bit faster and even predict how the project might reshape our community. One Lansing business leader said he believes the museum is a “game changer.”  I can’t think of a better description.

Simply put, the Broad Art Museum will be like nothing else.  Culturally, artistically, architecturally, economically — the project is poised to create a brand new landscape on all fronts. The museum has already received unprecedented interest from the national media, due in part to the acclaim of world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid and the generosity of founding donors Eli and Edythe Broad. Every day more and more people are discovering that something amazing is happening right here in East Lansing on the campus of Michigan State University.

We are planning a spectacular weekend of events for the grand opening of the new museum April 21. National and international visitors are expected to converge upon our area for the occasion. They will stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores. Museum visitors can be a discriminating lot, and they often seek out the best an area has to offer. It is up to all of us to provide a great first impression and encourage them to keep coming back. This takes a concerted effort locally but we are also fortunate to be building many partnerships to help us further these goals well beyond the MSU campus.

I recently returned from China, where I received a warm reception from those eager to learn more about the Broad Art Museum. Exciting new ventures in conjunction with the opening will connect artists and art lovers all across the globe. The power of video images in one of our inaugural exhibitions, “Global Groove 1973/2012” will permeate the largest gallery of the new Broad Art Museum as well as simultaneous openings at art venues in China, Vietnam, Brazil, Pakistan and Turkey.

These exhibitions will celebrate each artist’s approach to video as a rapidly rising medium. Additionally, the exhibition will serve to highlight the encompassing architecture in our premiere gallery space. Check out our Website to learn more about other opening exhibitions. Artists from almost 20 countries will be represented. See www.broadmuseum.msu.edu to learn more.

The iconic building design is, in fact, an attraction of its own and certainly a tremendous work of contemporary art for our visitors to experience. The museum is one of only two U.S. structures created by the Pritzker Prize-winning Hadid. We frequently receive calls and inquiries from those interested in getting a closer look at the museum design. As we approach the opening, we expect the curiosity to grow and the unveiling of the building to create just as much of a draw as the art housed within it. 

We can succeed in maximizing the opening of the Broad Art Museum by capitalizing on our regional and statewide cultural assets. Partnerships with other museums and attractions in Grand Rapids, Detroit and elsewhere can help to create an arts corridor. In conjunction with our state and local tourism officials, we can make Michigan a magnet for visitors who value a cultural escape. Everyone flying into our airports, hopping into taxis and taking trains should be aware that the arts are thriving here in Michigan. The opening of the Broad Art Museum provides a great reason for them to pay attention. 

 We are building a jewel right here in East Lansing and it comes with a price tag. About $5million is needed to reach the more than $40 million goal. There is still time for your family or business name to be placed in the museum on the Founders’ Donor Wall. We will also be developing member and annual donor programs to provide vital support for operations. I hope you will participate.

This museum is an investment. It is an investment in our local economy, in arts and culture and in the new fabric of our community weaved from a rich history. Visitors will experience great contemporary art displayed right along with pieces from the beloved collection of the former Kresge Art Museum at MSU.

This is your museum, and its success depends upon your support.  I encourage you to become a part of this vital project. To echo the business leader who shared his opinion, the Broad Art Museum is indeed a game changer that it will benefit all of us and generations to come.