UC Davis Today: From vision to reality: creating a museum of art

art museum director Rachel Teagle standing at future museum site with art work

From vision to reality: creating a museum of art

When UC Davis opens its new museum of art in a few years, it is expected to feature exceptional art in a building as imaginative as any of the world’s great contemporary museums.

Transforming this bold vision into a bricks-and-mortar reality is the job of Rachel Teagle, the newly appointed director of the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art.

“We can do anything here; you can let artists use it as their playground,” said Teagle, who has already launched two successful museums in her career. A recent article in UC Davis Magazine describes Teagle’s background and her enthusiasm for the challenge ahead.

The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art is anticipated to showcase the university’s strong modern and Californian collections as well as its encyclopedic fine art collection. Tentative ideas put forth at campus forums for the museum site included a skate park, dog park, café, student study and art space, and an ongoing mural project to which anyone could contribute.

Architect-contractor teams are now competing in the creation of a design for the art museum, which will be built on a 1.6-acre site adjacent to the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, the UC Davis Conference Center and Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. Hall. It is slated for completion in 2016, and will be the capstone of a planned “arts district” at the university’s new front door alongside Interstate 80. 

The new museum taps into an innovative artistic tradition on campus. In the 1960s, UC Davis faculty were at the forefront of a movement that brought California recognition as an important art center, and today the university boasts a nationally recognized Department of Art and Art History.

Photo illustration of art museum director Rachel Teagle standing at the site of the planned Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art with works from a recent Nelson Gallery exhibition: Jim Melchert’s North Atlantic, left, and Jeff Eisenberg’s Constant’s Gomorrah. Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis photos and Russ Thebaud/UC Davis photo illustration 

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