UIMA Mission Statement:

The purpose of the University of Iowa Museum of Art is to advance education and research in the fields of Art and Art History in ways that contribute to and enhance the academic mission of the University of Iowa. The Museum collects, conserves, and exhibits major works of art in order to teach its constituents, including University students, faculty and staff, the Iowa City community, the people of the State of Iowa, and visitors from around the world, how to better understand and appreciate art and civilizations from around the world. The Museum pursues its mission in accordance with the accreditation guidelines of the American Alliance of Museums.

The University of Iowa Museum of Art, established in 1969, has one of the top university art collections in the country. Approximately 12,400 objects constitute diverse collections that include paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, ceramics, textiles, jade, and silver. The Elliott Collection includes paintings by Braque, De Chirico, Kandinsky, Léger, Marc, Matisse, Picasso, and Vlaminck, among others. The Stanley Collection of African Art is part of one of the most significant collections of African art in the country which today numbers almost 2,000 objects. Other significant areas of the collections include nearly 5,300 prints spanning the history of Western printmaking, several hundred ceramics (primarily American studio ceramics), Pre-Columbian objects as well as small but superb groups of ancient Etruscan and Roman art, and Native American ledger drawings. Two of the most well-known works in the collections were given to the Museum by the School of Art and Art History: Max Beckmann’s triptych, Karneval, purchased by the faculty in 1946, and Jackson Pollock’s Mural, painted in 1943 for Peggy Guggenheim which she gave to the School in 1951.

Since its inception the UIMA has enjoyed a close working relationship with the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History and for several decades has sponsored the annual MFA show as well as the faculty exhibitions. Faculty from the SAAH and elsewhere, and graduate students on campus have curated shows at the Museum that are closely linked with their research, courses, and seminars. The teaching mission of the UIMA embraces the curriculum of the University of Iowa and extends throughout the state.

After the flood of June 2008, the Museum building was permanently evacuated. The collections were moved out in time and today are temporarily located in the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, fifty miles from Iowa City. The Museum’s dedicated spaces on campus include the "UIMA@IMU," a new 4,000-square-foot visual classroom in the Iowa Memorial Union that houses more than 500 works of art from the collections. In addition, objects from the African art collections are located in the Stanley Gallery of the Levitt Center for University Advancement.

Through the use of temporary facilities and creative outreach, the Museum continues to offer the invaluable experience of art to the University, the community, the state of Iowa, and beyond. The Museum remains steadfast in its mission despite losing its permanent facility and continues to:

  • Build and preserve its remarkable art collection
  • Present ground-breaking exhibitions
  • Offer K-12 programming for hundreds of Iowa students each year
  • Create opportunities for UI art students and faculty, including access to works from the UIMA collection
  • Provide free community programming including openings, lectures, and readings

As part of its historic dedication to the Fine Arts, the University is committed to building an architecturally significant new Museum building to replace the building flooded in 2008. This new building is part of the re-envisioning of the arts on campus. The new building will house the Museum’s world-class collections and will provide classrooms and labs as a mode of integrating the Museum with the study of the visual arts and the academic mission of the University.

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