Despite our low campus population since last March, key Beach personnel, together with external teams, have been working to repair and improve facilities and infrastructure, as well as work on new structures around The Beach. From necessary landscaping projects to construction on our forthcoming Anna W. Ngai Alumni Center, the campus’ “look” is undergoing significant changes that will improve the way we teach, learn and live as a community.
Nowhere are these improvements more noticeable than at the Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum, which is undergoing a massive renovation — inside and out. When the Museum reopens (expected in February 2022), CSULB will see the art space double in size and — thanks to the generosity of the museum’s namesake — be augmented by a collection of her art, endowed funds for scholarships, internships, visiting scholars, and lectures exploring interdisciplinary topics, and operating expenses.
This facility presents fresh opportunities for Beach faculty, staff and students, and it also promises to be an even more accessible campus space for the Long Beach community. The new version — the only CSU museum with a collection like ours and the first to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in the CSU System — will continue to offer free admission, as well as evening and weekend hours. This means that families, workers, students and others throughout our community can experience exceptional art.
Making the Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum available to the community adds to our mission to promote “the public good.” Increased availability also represents our commitment to develop the next generation of artists and appreciators of the arts.
To say I’ve been excited about the museum’s design and development from the earliest discussions and concept presentations is an understatement. The expanded museum will be a crown jewel on our campus. It will include three exhibition galleries, a reading and archives room, a works-on-paper study room, an education room, expanded collection storage (the incredible Hampton collection of Modernist works will be moved to campus for the first time ever), and updated workspaces. The increased size will occupy open space adjoining the Jack Rose Track. The Kleefeld Contemporary’s new director, Paul Baker Prindle, has joked, “It may be the first time in history that a university athletics program has lost real estate to an art museum!”
In addition to the museum’s interior, there will be renewed exterior spaces. The area will feature a new sculpture garden, as well as space for many campus and community events. This space will create an entirely unique way for visitors to interact with art.
The Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum will play a vital role in our “next and better normal” — stewarding and advocating for art and arts education, and making exceptional experiences accessible through its exhibitions and holdings. When that time comes, I look forward welcoming our campus community, neighbors and friends to this very special place.