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LUMA Set to Be Closed to Public, Used for Private Events and Exhibitions

Courtesy of Loyola University ChicagoLoyola administration announced Tuesday LUMA will be closed to the public.

The Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) is expected to be closed to the public and used as a special event and private exhibit space after the end of this academic year, according to an email sent to the Loyola community April 30.

Loyola administration started to consider restructuring LUMA earlier this year due to the money it was losing yearly, The Phoenix reported. The museum will still be run by administration instead of a particular school, which has been the case since the museum started, the email stated.

The museum will still house its permanent collections — The D’arcy Collection and annual Créche exhibit — as well as showcase student and faculty exhibits and occasional external exhibits, Thomas Kelly, Loyola’s senior vice president for administrative services, said in the email. Students will be able to visit these exhibits during class trips.

“We encourage you to continue to incorporate LUMA into your curricula and academic careers and look forward to many more years of enjoying its incredible collections,” Kelly said in the email.

The museum was previously open to the public and housed the permanent collections as well as temporary exhibits from Chicago artists. Earlier this year, LUMA showcased the “Folded Map” project by Tonika Johnson, which illustrated inequity throughout Chicago, The Phoenix reported.

Johnson, a local Chicago artist, said presenting her project in a temporary exhibit in LUMA was a major part of the reason it got so much attention from the city.

She said it also made her project more accessible to the public because at the time she didn’t have connections with other galleries and wouldn’t have been able to showcase her work in the way she did without LUMA.

“The actual temporary exhibition space allowed my project to be immersive and interactive and shared with more of the city than it would have been otherwise and that I know for a fact,” Johnson, 39, said. “The momentum created a larger, more dynamic, citywide interest in not only my project but the issue it was bringing up, which is segregation.”

Johnson said LUMA’s restructuring means it will be harder for new artists to gain recognition and make connections. She said part of the purpose of a university museum is to help emerging artists become more established.

“You wouldn’t have found my art at the Art Institute,” Johnson said. “It’s because of LUMA and the validity it offered me that I was able to meet people at the Art Institute and be on panels there.”

In addition to its role in helping artists, Johnson said the museum offers an outlet for engaged students. For example, she said students were the ones who found her project online and convinced the previous LUMA curator to invite Johnson to have an exhibit.

“The museum served as another way for students to really become engaged with the larger community and share some of their deepened interests,” Johnson said.

The discussions about restructuring the museum were partly prompted by the previous curator’s resignation, The Phoenix reported.

The museum will continue to look for a new curator who will be responsible for coordinating student internships, engaging students who visit the museum during classes, and caring for the art which will remain in the museum, the email stated. It’s unclear how the restructuring of the museum will affect the LUMA student interns.

In addition, Loyola voluntarily suspended LUMA’s accreditation with the American Alliance of Museums, which is a mark of distinction that indicates a museum’s credibility and quality. The alliance’s “rigorous requirements” contributed to the museum’s loss of funds, the email stated.

The process of accreditation includes a review in which staff from other museums examine a particular museum’s practices and how well it fulfills its mission, according to the American Alliance of Museums’ website.

Johnson said the restructuring of LUMA represents art not being valued.  

“It’s just another example of art being minimized and divested in, in our city,” Johnson said. “It shows it’ll be even that much harder for local artists to gain some kind of attention to their own work in their own city and that’s unfortunate.”

Kelly and LUMA staff didn’t respond to requests for comment by the time of publication. Wayne Magdziarz, Loyola’s CFO, didn’t have further comment.

The Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) is expected to be closed to the public and used as a special event and private exhibit space after the end of this academic year, according to an email sent to the Loyola community.

Loyola administration started to consider restructuring LUMA earlier this year due to the money it was losing yearly, The Phoenix previously reported. The museum will still be run by Loyola’s administration instead of a particular school, which has been the case since the museum started, the email stated.

The museum will still house its permanent collections — The D’arcy Collection and annual Créche exhibit — as well as showcase student and faculty exhibits and occasional external exhibits, Thomas Kelly, Loyola’s senior vice president for administrative services, said in the email. Students will be able to visit these exhibits during class trips.

“We encourage you to continue to incorporate LUMA into your curricula and academic careers and look forward to many more years of enjoying its incredible collections,” Kelly said in the email.

The museum was previously open to the public and housed the permanent collections as well as temporary exhibits from Chicago artists. Earlier this year, LUMA showcased the “Folded Map” project by Tonika Johnson, which illustrated inequity throughout Chicago, The Phoenix reported.

The discussions about restructuring the museum were partly prompted by the previous curator’s resignation, The Phoenix reported.

The museum will continue to look for a new curator who will be responsible for coordinating student internships, engaging students who visit the museum during classes and caring for the art which will remain in the museum, the email stated. It’s unclear how the restructuring of the museum will affect the LUMA student interns.

In addition, Loyola voluntarily suspended LUMA’s accreditation with the American Alliance of Museums, which is a mark of distinction that indicates a museum’s credibility and quality. The alliance’s “rigorous requirements” contributed to the museum’s loss of funds, the email stated.

The process of accreditation includes a review in which staff from other museums examine a particular museum’s practices and how well it fulfills its mission, according to the American Alliance of Museums’ website.

Kelly and LUMA staff didn’t respond to requests for comment by the time of publication. Wayne Magdziarz, Loyola’s CFO, didn’t have further comment.

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