The University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art Celebrates Official Opening of New State-of-the-Art Public Museum

The University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art Celebrates Official Opening of New State-of-the-Art Public Museum

DES MOINES, IA (August 24, 2022) — The Opening Celebration of the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art will take place Aug. 26 – 28. The event will celebrate the completion of the Stanley Museum of Art’s new state-of-the-art public teaching museum on University of Iowa (UI) campus, designed by BNIM.

A dedication ceremony and livestream will be held from 3-4 p.m. at the Stanley Museum of Art on Aug. 26, featuring remarks from UI President Barbara Wilson and Stanley Museum of Art Director Lauren Lessing. A series of opening celebration events will follow, including curatorial introductions to the inaugural exhibition Homecoming, art-making activities, light refreshments, food trucks, and live music in Gibson Square Park. Opening Celebration festivities will continue throughout the weekend with open galleries, Homecoming tours, performances, and other art activities. All events and museum admission will be free and open to all. 

BNIM worked with the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art to design its new 63,000 SF building that restores an art museum presence to the campus community after 14 years, following historic flooding in 2008. The new Stanley Museum of Art reunites the University with its extensive collections and renowned works such as Jackson Pollock’s Mural which previously held temporary residence in art institutions across the world.

The University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art is both a public museum for discovery, learning, and teaching of the arts and a center for campus connection. Located adjacent to Gibson Square Park, the Stanley Museum of Art will be immersed in campus activity this Fall, enabling art to become a central component of the campus experience. The building features a transparent main lobby and a new entry plaza that provide opportunity for future art displays, performances, social gathering, and classes.

A series of flexible gallery spaces offer students, faculty, and visitors space for observation, discussion, and exploration of the collections. The proportions of the galleries allow for faculty to curate collections for teaching and research and for students to learn the principles of curating, an initiative central to the Stanley Museum of Art’s mission.

The upper floors of the Stanley Museum of Art include a visual arts laboratory classroom where collections can be further utilized for teaching as works of art are installed for students' coursework observation. A visible storage room; offices; and collaborative staff and volunteer spaces will also support research and teaching of the collections.

A dark, kinetic brick façade composed of alternating brick texture and brick finish reflects daily and seasonal changes in sunlight. The Stanley Museum of Art’s rectilinear form serves as a protective and responsive home for the display, conservation, and storage of collections. The glass façade of the lobby level and a series of interconnected voids throughout the building massing establish connections to daylight, enhance transparency and wayfinding, and guide the cadence of visitor experience. Outdoor terraces also serve as active spaces for socializing, activities, and school visits.

“We are honored and excited to celebrate the opening of this dynamic new facility on the University of Iowa campus and to help welcome the Stanley Museum of Art home for the first time in many years. BNIM is proud to have worked with the University and the Stanley Museum of Art team to bring this transformational arts destination to the Iowa community.” – Rod Kruse, Principal, BNIM


Established in 1969, the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art is a dynamic and innovative teaching and learning resource for the university and its surrounding communities. The collections include significant holdings of African art, Abstract Expressionism, works on paper, textiles, and ceramics, as well as paintings by modern masters such as Pollock, Beckman, Miró, and Motherwell. The strength of the collections continues to draw worldwide attention and allows the museum to play an innovative role in interdisciplinary exploration and collaboration. Admission to the museum is always free and open to all. For updates, please visit

BNIM’s core purpose is: “We deliver beautiful, integrated, living environments that inspire change and enhance the human condition.” The services we provide—architecture, interior design, landscape design, sustainability leadership and consulting, graphic design, and planning—are guided by this mission. BNIM has been recognized with more than 500 awards for exceptional design and thought leadership, including the 2011 AIA National Architecture Firm Award, and the firm has emerged nationally as a leading resource for established methodologies, innovative technologies, and cutting-edge research in architecture, planning, and landscape design. Through a process of integrated design, which is both an organized collaboration between disciplines and an interweaving and interconnectivity of building systems, our team creates designs that are both environmentally responsible and achieve the highest level of design excellence.  

BNIM will collaborate with photographer Nick Merrick and videographers from Spirit of Space to further share the story of the Stanley Museum of Art this Fall. Professional photography and videography will be available in October. Please contact Beena Ramaswami, Director of Brand Identity, for more information.