After about five years, the moment East Lansing has been waiting for finally is here: The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum will open its doors for the first time to the public Sunday.
To celebrate the occasion, a museum dedication will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, and a public open house will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
The project was kick-started in 2007 with a $26 million donation from MSU alumnus and billionaire Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe.
Michael Rush, who was named the museum’s director in December 2010, said he is excited the opening finally is here.
“The building has been so complex and so amazing to build,” Rush said. “To see it completed and have the opening day fills me with tremendous joy.”
The museum has seen its fair share of problems since the project was announced nearly five years ago. After the initial donation from the Broads, they decided to donate another $2 million in 2010, but the museum still struggled to reach its fundraising goal of between $40 million and $45 million.
After years of fundraising, Marcia Crawley, the museum’s director of development, said in a email the museum still is about $1.3 million away from its fundraising goal.
She said opening a free museum will help give back to the community, and urges everyone to support the facility. She said according to a recent study by Anderson Economic Group, an East Lansing professional service firm that analyzes public policy for public, private and government sectors, the museum will also have a great economic impact on the area.
“The (museum) is expected to reap upwards of $6 million in additional revenue for Greater Lansing from visitors coming to the museum,” Crawley said. “By giving to the Broad, the residents of Greater Lansing are not only investing in arts and culture, they are supporting an economic driver for our community.”
The museum’s opening was pushed back from April 2012 because some of the building’s glass panels needed to be replaced because of manufacturing faults.
President Lou Anna K. Simon said in a press release that bringing the museum to East Lansing will have a profound impact on the community.
“As the Wharton Center did with performing arts, the Broad Art Museum will become a key cultural asset not just for this university, but for the state,” Simon said. “Beyond inspiring visitors, it will attract and nurture the sorts of talented people who make ours a world-class community of creators, innovators and entrepreneurs.”
Not only does Rush think this will have an impact on the local community, he hopes the museum will be on the level of other high-profile museums.
“(By featuring) the architecture and the programs in (the museum), we fully hope to take our place among the most significant, contemporary art museums,” Rush said.
Graduate student Tate Kern said the museum will be a highlight on MSU’s campus.
“College towns are always nicer when you have more art,” she said.
Staff writer Michael Koury contributed to this article.