After many years of anticipation and planning, Hope College, a premier private liberal arts college in Holland, Michigan and key client of Progressive AE is opening the new Kruizenga Art Museum. It is inspired by the lead donors to the project, the late Margaret Kruizenga and her husband Richard Kruizenga, art enthusiasts and alumni of Hope College. Margaret wanted something “unusual” and not like the predominantly traditional red brick buildings on campus. She got her wish. Working with Matthew Vanderborgh, the director of C Concept Design and Donald Baatjes, formerly the chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, also both Hope College graduates, the striking modernist design sits distinctly in the center of campus along Hope College’s cultural corridor.

Working with Tim Chester of The Museum Group, the program consultant, Progressive AE as the architect of record teamed with Matthew, Donald and Hope College faculty and staff to develop the program and design details for the new facility. The vision and mission for the Kruizenga Art Museum was born: “To educate, engage and inspire students, faculty, staff and alumni of Hope College, as well as the broader communities of Holland and West Michigan, presenting art from a wide range of cultures, and historical periods.”

A key activity in the design process was benchmarking site visits to other academic museums along the State’s cultural corridor including the Muskegon Museum of Art, Grand Rapids Art Museum, MSU’s Broad Art Museum, University of Michigan Museum of Art and Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills. In addition to caretaking the institution’s collection, a common theme and thread of all of these museums is their mission to expose, engage and educate students about art. These tours were instrumental is helping shape and focus the design for the new “teaching” museum at Hope.

The 15,000 square foot museum had a budget including endowment of $5 million making it a challenge, but through the support of the lead donors and alumni raised the funds necessary to realize the Kruizenga’s vision and dream. The building’s unusual shape features a glass curtain walled entry and vestibule flanked by 22 feet high by 9 ½ feet wide Cambrian Black granite faced panels, serrated and up-lit around the facade’s double curve. The building is capped with a faceted metal panel “halo” canopy. The team’s construction management partner was GO Construction, a consortium of GDK Construction and OAK bringing this intricate project with extreme attention to detail to successful completion.

The museum has two separate galleries, one for displaying the permanent collection, and one for temporary exhibitions. The permanent collection displays will be designed to support the teaching curricula of certain classes or departments. Some temporary exhibitions may consist entirely of objects from the permanent collection or traveling exhibitions on consignment from other institutions. Another key space in the museum is the multi-use conference room, which will serve as an art study room used by faculty, students and visitors to view and study works in the collection not on display in the public galleries.

The Kruizenga Art Museum provides a proper home to store the college’s growing art collection, half of which comes from Europe and the Americas, and the other half from Asia and Africa. The new museum exemplifies the best practices of care, handling and presentation of art, which will also be incorporated into the curriculum. The lower level provides storage and support for the collection, all in a secure, climate controlled, clean environment.

The museum will display a broad range of arts and crafts from different cultures and periods. In this way, the museum will provide “hands-on” learning opportunities for all academic disciplines at Hope College. Charles Mason, the founding director for the museum has been working hard with his staff in preparing to open the museum, with the dedication on September 8. As a “teacher at heart” he looks forward to opening this new “classroom” to not only Hope College students, but to attract K-12 students and visitors from the wider Holland community, and beyond, enriching the lives of all.

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