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Montclair Art Museum Launches Vance Wall Art Education Center

With a recent gift totaling $5 million from Carol and Terry Wall/The Vance Wall Foundation, the Montclair Art Museum is proud to announce the creation of the Vance Wall Art Education Center at MAM, establishing the footing for enhanced educational outreach and accessible programs for people of all ages. The Center encompasses all the Museum’s educational efforts, from the established Yard School of Art to the new mobile MAM Art Truck, and marks the public phase of the Museum’s endowment campaign, MAM Centennial Campaign: Arts and Learning.

            “Since its founding over 100 years ago, MAM has stayed true to its two-fold mission of arts and learning. The Vance Wall Foundation’s gift is an acknowledgment of MAM’s strength in education and has provided a rare opportunity to reach even higher,” said MAM’s director Lora Urbanelli. In the past year, MAM’s education programs served over 95 schools in 54 school districts, 4 institutions of higher learning, and 140 community and business organizations ranging from the Cub Scouts to Hadassah, and senior groups and town arts councils from Sussex to Trenton, Yonkers to Allentown. The new Center will fully refine and deepen these partnerships, meet additional community needs, and explore comprehensive creative programming for every demographic.

“Over 2,000 students of all ages are enrolled in the Museum's Yard School of Art. That extraordinarily high number indicates the resounding enthusiasm for arts education in the Montclair area and was the impetus for the creation of the Vance Wall Arts Education Center,” said Carol Wall. “My dream is the Center will expand and unify our program to provide an even richer and more comprehensive arts education for everyone from toddlers to seniors.” The new Center will seek academic excellence and outfit the Museum as a teaching laboratory for higher education, make the MAM family experience an engaging and easy habit any day of the week, establish a center for lifelong learning in the arts for active adults and seniors, and target teens as an essential age group for the future of museums. Its resulting programs will become national models for arts education. Heading this initiative will be the recently named first Director of the Vance Wall Art Education Center, Leah Fox.

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            In the months ahead, the construction of the Vance Wall Art Education Center will begin, providing a new Museum Education entry with offices and studio space for art activities. The design by Montclair architect John Reimnitz highlights education, putting it on a par with MAM’s renowned exhibitions. Upon entering the Museum at the existing side entry, there will be a clear visual distinction between the left side entrance to the Museum and the right side entrance to the Center. A new education classroom placed at the entry will open the art-making experience to MAM visitors. The entrance will be named after former Museum president Nathaniel C. Harris, who oversaw the building’s 2001 expansion. Harris took art classes at the Montclair Art Museum as a child and rose to become president of the Museum; a Yard School of Art scholarship program is named in his honor.

            Raising the Museum’s educational profile through The Vance Wall Art Education Center is a key component of MAM’s endowment campaign. The Centennial Campaign: Arts and Learning will leverage and interweave the Museum’s two core strengths: arts and education. It aims to raise $15 million to help ensure a vibrant future for the Museum. Nearly $10 million has already been raised as MAM enters the public phase. In addition to The Vance Wall Art Education Center, key objectives include revitalizing displays for Native American materials, strengthening the contemporary art program, creating an outdoor sculpture garden and community gathering spaces, and broadening access for the region’s lively and diverse communities.

            “Based on the generosity and leadership of many individuals, MAM is reaching out to an expanding community to open eyes, hearts, and minds to art, and thereby create windows of possibilities,” said Frank Walter, MAM president. “These gifts will help preserve MAM for future generations.”

            For more information about the Campaign, please contact Susan Wall, director of development, at 973-259-5117 or swall@montclairartmuseum.org.

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