"IU Center for Art and Design-Columbus Press Conference"

YES Cinema Lobby, Columbus, Indiana
December 17, 2010

Thank you, John [Burnett], and thank you all for coming this morning for this important and path-breaking announcement.

Today, I am delighted to announce the establishment of the Indiana University Center for Art and Design in Columbus. This center grows out of a partnership between IU and the Community Education Coalition of Columbus, led by the tireless John Burnett. The center will be located right next door in the former Commons Mall and will specialize in teaching design studies, drawing upon the great strengths and unique assets of this wonderful city.

It will be an intellectual partnership between a city ranked the sixth most architecturally significant city in America and Indiana University.  It will allow IU students to work in the superb laboratory of art and design that is Columbus.

Here they can study transcendent buildings designed by some of the greatest architects ever:  I.M. Pei, Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Richard Meier, and Kevin Roche; they can study the magnificent public art of Henry Moore and Dale Chihuly; and they can study the masterpieces of landscape design by Dan Kiley and others. 

Indiana University has had a long and productive presence in Columbus, a presence that has, as its foundation, this city’s great belief in the power of education. Over the years the Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus campus has fostered the very spirit of collaboration and partnership that brings us here today.

But the center we are announcing today has roots that extend far beyond IU’s presence here. Those roots go back to the prescience and philanthropic spirit of J. Irwin Miller, who, along with his family, helped transform this city into the cultural and architectural treasure that it is today. And the Millers were not alone. It took an entire city, and renowned architects, designers, and artists from around the world, to create the jewel that Columbus has become.

Irwin Miller’s son Will Miller, who will be speaking in just a moment, was among a number of community leaders who proposed a broad vision of how IU could bring its resources to bear to further highlight and build upon this community’s strengths in art and design. This center has grown in response to that community vision.

Drawing on IU Bloomington’s outstanding Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design, the center will offer students the opportunity to study, first-hand, Columbus architecture, art, parks, and public spaces. Those students will also be looking at design in a broader context, which includes interior design, industrial design, and fashion. The center will also add a vibrant element to downtown Columbus through its design gallery, exhibitions, and continuing education opportunities for people in the community. My colleagues from the College of Arts and Science will share more details about the center in just a moment. None of this would have been possible without the tireless efforts of Columbus community leaders.

I have mentioned Will Miller and John Burnett, about whom I cannot say enough. Let me also add my thanks to Rick Johnson, whose family has played such an important role at Indiana University. Jack Hess and the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce also deserve our thanks for their support of this project. I would also like to thank Mark Gerstle, Cummins Inc., and the Cummins Foundation for their leadership in this effort. In addition, let me recognize the Arvin Gift Fund, the Heritage Fund, the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, the Irwin Sweeney Miller Foundation, and Johnson Ventures for all that those organizations have added to this project.

I would be remiss if I did not add a word of thanks to my colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington. Interim Dean David Zaret, Executive Associate Dean Bob Becker, and Professor Kate Rowold have been instrumental in this effort. In fact, it is to Dean Zaret that credit should go for suggesting an expanded role for IU in the study of design.  I would also like to recognize the efforts of IU Vice President for Engagement Bill Stephen who has been involved in these discussions. 

All of these people and organizations have played vital roles in moving this project forward.

That this list is so long is testimony to the true spirit of collaboration behind this new center.

Thank you very much.