Campus, News

CSULB’s Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum to close for construction

The Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum will be undergoing two years of construction starting in 2020 to expand the building and upgrade the facilities. 

The expanded museum will include three exhibition galleries, a reading and archives room, a study room, an education room, some expanded collection storage, updated workspaces and a renewed exterior. A $10 million donation from artist Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld will fund the project.

“To get a facility where we can get those works in front of our students is really us making our mission and values manifest,” said the newly appointed director of the museum Paul Baker Prindle.

In the two years that the building will be under construction, there will be 15 months of  construction and nine months will be used to prepare the new building with art, according to Baker Prindle. During that time, the artworks will be kept in storage. 

During the renovations, Kleefeld Contemporary has projects planned for on and off campus. The projects include partnering nearby school and off campus exhibitions. There are also discussions with Associated Students Inc. to contract architects to install new sculptures on campus.

For Baker Prindle, one of his main goals is getting people to look at museums with a different perspective.

“I like to think of museums as…having buildings, but also as some social entities that are more than a building,” Baker Prindle said. “We are a museum that has a building, but it is what happens and who makes it happen that is more important.”

Kleefeld Contemporary’s funding will also allow the university to offer more scholarships to its art students as well as present new internship opportunities. 

“We are looking at our new collection access as an educational tool,” said Amanda Fruta, public affairs and communication specialist for Kleefeld Contemporary. “This gift grants us the ability to give students more access than they ever have before.”

The new museum will feature 160 works from the Kleefeld Collection, which were gifted to the institution according to Baker Prindle.

Kleefeld and Baker Prindle had similar ideas for the museum, and he said that is why he enjoys working with her. As a poet, artist and as a philanthropist, Baker Prindle said he fell in love with Kleefeld’s investment in nurturing student creativity.

“I think with any relationship with a benefactor, it’s about identifying mutual goals and where you overlap,” Baker Prindle said. “She is a person who speaks with a singular voice, and that is something we can get down with too.”

Baker Prindle said his goal is to make the new exhibits accessible to a larger community. Obstacles such as transportation, mobility, financial and social stigmas are all things he and his team are evaluating as possible barriers that come between the community and the museum. 

“As a museum we can do more than just sharing our ideas,” Baker Prindle said. “But we can also listen to the community’s ideas, needs, their desires and preferences for arts programming, and then meet that need.”

With heightened levels of access, both educationally and for the community, the new Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum looks to change the way students grow at Long Beach State.

“I think of museums as labs,” Baker Prindle said. “Just like in a chemistry lab where you take materials and conduct experiments, works of art are like that as well. We can do profound and powerful things with them beyond just looking at them.”

This article previously contained clarity issues and an incorrect date for the start of construction. The correction was made Oct. 8 at 1:11 p.m.

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