Krannert Art Museum reopens after summer renovation

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Tiffany Zhang

The Kinkead Pavilion at the Krannert Art Museum on October 14, 2015.

By Sarah Kats, Staff writer

The reopening of the Krannert Art Museum following its summer renovations will once again allow access to the wealth of art housed in the second-largest fine arts museum in Illinois.

“One of the things that is so exciting to hear from students who have left for other universities with other museums is how much they appreciate the breadth of the collection we have here at KAM,” said Julia Kelly, marketing manager at the museum.

Closed all summer to renovate the four oldest main galleries, KAM will reopen select permanent exhibits to the public on Aug. 22 and celebrate a grand reopening of all exhibits on Nov. 10.

Named a top historical spot in Illinois by TripAdvisor, the museum houses an extensive array of artistic styles, making it a reservoir for cultural knowledge and engagement.

“We have items from the Americas that date from before European explorers came to the continent,” Kelly said. “We have ancient Mediterranean art and a really strong Greek collection, and then the painting collection is really wonderful.”

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The Krannert Art Museum is also preparing for the debut of a temporary exhibit titled, “Borderland Collective: Northern Triangle.” Presented in English and Spanish, this contemporary exhibit created by the Borderland Collective explores the outcomes of the 68,000 unaccompanied children who were detained at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014.

“We’ll have two big groups of artists coming in October to primarily work with students and give presentations at La Casa Cultural talking about the exhibit,” Kelly said. “They are looking at visual images from the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras), discussing how each country viewed the U.S. and how those people were treated upon coming here. Were they helped or hindered?”

Engaging students with issues that encourage thoughtful dialogue is something Kelly believes to be an important part of KAM’s mission, especially reflected in their contemporary art exhibits.

“Past exhibits have included well-known artists such as The Guerrilla Girls, whose art questioned the erasure of women from the art world. KAM will also host artist Autumn Knight, whose performance art tackles race issues in America,” Kelly said.

“Any museum can be a place that houses art. Krannert Art Museum focuses on hearing student voices and engaging students in a really real way, sometimes with events but a lot of times with the artists we present. We really try to find artists that are talking about things that are important.”

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