Krasl Art Center announces next steps for sculptor Richard Hunt’s Studio Center in Benton Harbor

Krasl Art Center announces next steps for sculptor Richard Hunt’s Studio Center in Benton Harbor

Krasl Art Center announces next steps for sculptor Richard Hunt’s Studio Center in Benton Harbor

Plans to engage the community as well as master planning to determine future use unveiled at Aug. 9 event.

ST. JOSEPH, Mich., Aug. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Krasl Art Center celebrated the official transfer of Sculptor Richard Hunt’s Benton Harbor Studio Center to the St. Joseph-based arts organization with a special event and open house on Aug. 9. Attendees gathered inside The Galleries of the Krasl Art Center to announce the next steps and future plans for Hunt’s generous gift.

The Chicago-based sculptor announced the donation of the building located at 258 Territorial Road in Benton Harbor, Mich., to Krasl Art Center in June.

“It was my intention to leave what is now the Richard Hunt Studio Center to Krasl Art Center to expand and develop as an extension of Krasl into Benton Harbor, with a place that allows for a lot of activity,” Hunt shared via a video clip. “That is one thing that I would like to do.”

Krasl Art Center Executive Director & Chief Curator Tami Fauver shared, “Now that the legal transaction is complete, the Board of Directors and Staff of Krasl are looking forward to dreaming big. This is an outstanding opportunity to honor the legacy of Mr. Hunt and create a vibrant arts space in Benton Harbor. Further, it truly aligns to Krasl’s mission to inspire meaningful change and strengthen community through the visual arts. We look forward to actively working with the community and engaging in the master planning process to determine the highest and best use of the building.”

Krasl Art Center and its staff began their relationship with Hunt upon his arrival in the community in 1995 when he opened a satellite studio in Benton Harbor, 100 miles from his primary workspace in Chicago. The opening of his Studio Center was a critical seed in launching the Benton Harbor Arts District, a vibrant active area of the City of Benton Harbor downtown.

In the ensuing 24 years, proximity to this world-renowned sculptor has become a unique part of the community fabric.  

Hunt’s gift reflects his belief in the power of art to transform the community and his desire for a thriving arts community in Benton Harbor.

Prior to accepting the gift, Krasl Art Center’s Board of Directors conducted an environmental study on the building, ensured the gift aligned with the Center’s mission, and reviewed the financial impacts of this gift to ensure sustainability.

“We are very grateful for this generous gift and really looking forward to the planning process that we will be engaging in to determine the best use of the facility,” said Krasl Art Center Board President Brian Edelfson. “We are forming three committees to assist the staff and board in executing this work. They are master planning, fundraising, and community conversation.”

Fauver shared, “No immediate changes will be seen at the 258 Territorial Road location. Mr. Hunt and his studio are consolidating operations to Chicago over the next two years which allows us the opportunity to master plan and consider how the gift will be integrated into Krasl’s mission and have autonomy and the ability to evolve. Our St. Joseph operations will be operating as normal as the planning takes place.”

In a second video clip Hunt shared his vision for future use, “I think this place would be a place that features sculpture in one way or another and it would be a catalyst for development, innovation and sculpture in the area.”

Fauver added, “We have been meeting and talking with City of Benton Harbor officials along with our arts partners at Water Street Glassworks, Anna Russo Sieber and the Benton Harbor Arts Association about the opportunity this creates for us to further partner and provide opportunities to area residents. I look forward to seeing where the planning takes us and what we will be able to offer at the 258 Territorial location in the future.”

Krasl Art Center was launched in 1962 when a handful of local artists held a clothesline art exhibition along Lake Bluff Park in St. Joseph. Those artists went on to form the St. Joseph Art Association which, in 1979, through the beneficence of George & Olga Krasl, built Krasl Art Center as we know it today.

The Center provides southwest Michigan residents and visitors the opportunity to experience contemporary art exhibitions, new artist projects, and events as well as art classes, camps, guest artist workshops, and outreach opportunities. The center opened in 1980 in a 7,500-square-foot building designed by Perkins & Will and situated atop a scenic bluff overlooking Lake Michigan.

Indoors, it houses public galleries, art-making studios, and a gift shop. Outdoors, it celebrates public art and sculpture placements on its campus and throughout the community.

Additionally, each July, the Center hosts the nationally ranked Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff. According to a 2022 Economic Impact Study, there is an infusion of $4.9 million into the Berrien County economy because of Krasl Art Center and Art Fair activities, while supporting 45 jobs.

For more information about Krasl Art Center, Richard Hunt’s donation, and the transition process, contact Jamie Balkin at [email protected] or visit www.krasl.org.

About the Krasl Art Center
Krasl Art Center is a nonprofit art museum and learning center that enriches the lives of people living in or visiting Southwest Michigan by delivering enlightening art experiences through diverse education opportunities, meaningful events, and high-quality exhibits and collections. Krasl’s mission is to Inspire Meaningful Change and Strengthen Community through the Visual Arts. To learn more, visit krasl.org.

Editor’s Note: Additional materials including a fact sheet, photo assets, video and audio clips, as well as key elements to aid in sharing the story are available by contacting Jamie Balkin at [email protected] or 269-757-1586. 

SOURCE Krasl Art Center

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/krasl-art-center-announces-next-steps-for-sculptor-richard-hunts-studio-center-in-benton-harbor-301897323.html
Images courtesy of https://pixabay.com

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