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News . Feature Stories . $5 Million Gund Gifts Help Fund CIA Campus Project

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November 04, 2011

$5 Million Gund Gifts Help Fund CIA Campus Project

Combined family, foundation gifts bring total Gund commitment to $10 million

$5 Million Gund Gifts Help Fund CIA Campus Project

The Cleveland Institute of Art has received a $5 million commitment from the George Gund Foundation and the family of the late George Gund II to help fund the college’s $66 million campus modernization and unification project.

The project entails renovation of the historic Joseph McCullough Center for the Visual Arts on Euclid Avenue, which was completed in December 2010, and construction of a new 91,000-square-foot building immediately west of and fully interconnected with McCullough. The new building will bear Mr. Gund’s name. Construction is expected to start in the first half of 2012 and will take approximately 16 months.

The Gund announcement brings to $10 million the total amount committed by the foundation and family members to the capital campaign that is funding the campus project. Previously, the foundation and the family had provided $5 million in support. The gift brings to $52 million the total amount raised to date.

George Gund II (1888-1966) served as CIA board president for 24 years, from 1942-1966. In that role, he essentially ran the business side of the college, while its directors (he overlapped with three) oversaw academics. He established the George Gund Foundation in 1952.

“This is more than a philanthropic gift to CIA; the Gund family and foundation have been instrumental in key moments in the college’s history. We couldn’t ask for better partners,” said Grafton J. Nunes, president and CEO of the Institute.

At present, the CIA campus is divided between two buildings, several blocks apart: its current George Gund Building, at 11141 East Boulevard; and the McCullough building, which is at 11610 Euclid Avenue. In the spring of 2009, the Institute initiated Phase I of its campus project, the top-to-bottom renovation of the McCullough building, which was designed by renowned industrial architect Albert Kahn, constructed in 1915 as a Model T Ford assembly plant, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The painstaking renovation was recognized last spring with a 2011 Preservation Award from the Cleveland Restoration Society and the Cleveland and Akron chapters of the American Institute of Architects.

Phase II of the project will be the construction of the new building, the ground floor of which will feature a gallery devoted to student and alumni work; the principal exhibition space; and the auditorium, which will be the new home of the existing Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque film program. The remainder of the new building will house CIA’s nationally ranked design program (Industrial Design, Interior Design and Communication Design); its Integrated Media programs (Photography, Game Design, Video, Animation, Digital Arts, Illustration, and Biomedical Art); and administrative offices. A distinctive, glassy three-story atrium will connect the two buildings and serve as the “living room” for the college.

Plans also call for a 30-foot by 54-foot media mesh digital display to be mounted on the new building’s western façade. Media mesh is a weave of stainless steel cords embedded with LED lights that can produce high-resolution displays of both still and moving images that can be programmed from a computer. It will be the first such display in Ohio and only the fourth in the United States.

CIA’s current enrollment is 546 students, but its strategic plan calls for a steady enrollment of 625-650 students. The new building and the existing McCullough building will provide a combined 256,000 square feet of usable space, ample room to accommodate a student body of this size for many years to come.

“The Gund Foundation’s extremely generous early support of our campaign provided crucial front-end momentum, and valuable credibility for our fundraising,” said Nunes. “This additional support is such a validation; it’s a statement about the importance of the Cleveland Institute of Art to art and design in America.”

CIA’s campus project is the eastern anchor of the Uptown revitalization effort now underway in the Euclid-Mayfield neighborhood within Cleveland’s University Circle. Anchoring the west end will be the new home (now under construction) for MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland; in between CIA and MOCA, Case Western Reserve University is developing upscale restaurant, retail and residential space.

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