Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum holds fundraising gala


Surrounded by cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and musical performances, hundreds of people gathered Friday at the Spartan Club in Spartan Stadium for a gala benefiting the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.

Museum director Michael Rush estimated about 320 people attended the Countdown to the Broad gala Friday night. He was unsure of the exact amount of money raised through the gala’s admission, but with $90 of the $125 cost of each ticket sale benefiting the museum, the gala’s fundraising is expected to be more than $28,000.

About $5 million still is needed to reach the museum’s $40 million fundraising goal, and efforts will be made to contact more potential donors in coming weeks, MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said.

Rush said he intends to raise the remaining $5 million as soon as possible but expects the museum to be fully funded by the time it opens at the end of April 2012.

In a previous State News article from July, officials also said they had about $5 million left to raise for the project.

Hospitality business junior Alison Hamilton said MSU has a huge alumni base the museum could tap into, including her parents, both of whom are MSU alumni.

Hamilton said raising $5 million dollars by April is an unrealistic goal unless the museum seeks donations from East Lansing residents.

“I had no idea they still needed that much money,” she said.

The museum’s namesakes, billionaire alumnus and businessman Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, have donated a total of $28 million to the museum.

Rush said the museum has made “fantastic” progress since breaking ground, and it has been a privilege to watch its construction from his office window in Student Services.

New York City-based artist Andrew Kuo was in attendance at the gala to showcase two of his pieces that will be among the first artwork exhibited at the museum’s opening.

Kuo said having his work displayed in the museum is very humbling, and, as an artist, he never is “jaded” to being honored at exhibits.

Kuo took a tour of the museum before the gala Friday to see its progress and said the first level of metal pleats were being installed on the museum’s exterior.

“It’s great for the university,” he said. “How many places are there like this in the country?”

Kresge Art Museum registrar Rachel Vargas said attendance at the gala was higher than she anticipated and said the event’s ticket sales will go a long way toward contributing to the cost of the museum. She said Friday’s event served to raise money but also to show support for the museum.

Simon said the museum, which will exhibit artists from many different countries, will capture the world’s attention and show MSU’s commitment to the arts.

Rush also said the museum’s curator was hired Thursday and her name soon will be announced.

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