A sneak peak inside the University of Iowa’s new Stanley Museum of Art

When visitors enter the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, they’ll be greeted by a vibrant, geometric abstract mural titled “Surrounding” by artist and educator Odili Donald Odita.

Just past the mural are elevators to access the second and third floors of the museum, which includes exhibition space and classrooms.

Across from the elevators is the lightwell, an unroofed space that visitors can step into and look up at the open skies. Its glass walls bring the outdoors into the museum.

Along with the lightwell, large glass windows in the lobby also bring in light to the first floor.

The Press-Citizen visited the 63,000-square-foot museum Tuesday as part of a tour for media.

Lauren Lessing, director of the museum, told members of the press about its facilities, upcoming programming and its opening weekend.

The $50 million museum will open Aug. 26. The previous museum of art, located at 150 N. Riverside Drive, was evacuated during flooding in 2008.

Alan Prazniak, assistant to Philadelphia artist Odili Donald Odita, helps paints a mural on the wall in the new Stanley Museum of Art in Iowa City on Tuesday.  The museum is set to open to the public Aug.  26.

“I am just unbelievably honored to be the director that gets to open the doors, and welcome people back in to experience this art collection that belongs to the people of the state of Iowa,” Lessing said of that 14-year gap.

Using the lobby at the Stanley Museum of Art to ‘draw people across our thresholds’

Odita’s mural “Surrounding” is in response to Jackson Pollock’s 1943 “Mural.”

Pollock’s “Mural” is one of the museum’s best-known pieces of art.

Odita, a Philadelphia-based artist, was present Tuesday with three assistants who were working to complete the mural in the next week.

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