MARQUETTE -- A groundbreaking ceremony for Northern Michigan University’s new DeVos Art Museum and the Art and Design Studios North addition will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 9) at the corner of Seventh Street and Tracy Avenue.  The public is invited to attend.

The ceremony will recognize the $1 million gift made in February by the Dan and Pamella DeVos and the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundations of Grand Rapids for the NMU Art Museum. Dan will be in attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony.

A reception immediately following the ceremony will take place in the current NMU Art Museum located in Lee Hall.  Two new exhibits will begin there as part of the groundbreaking celebration.  In the East Gallery, the exhibit will be “At the Edge of the Field: Contemporary Basketry in America.”  In the West Gallery, it will be “Quilts: Small Works.”

Dan is the former chair of the NMU Board of Trustees.  He was appointed by former Gov. John Engler to NMU’s Board of Trustees in April 1995.  He was the Board’s chair from January 2001 until his term’s expiration in December 2003.  He currently serves on NMU’s Cisler College of Business Advisory Council.

Helen and Richard, founders of the Amway Corporation, were awarded NMU honorary degrees in 1998.  Richard served as the speaker at that year’s mid-year commencement ceremony. 

The DeVos endowment will be used primarily for museum programming. The NMU Art Museum will be renamed the DeVos Art Museum at the completion of the East campus renovation project, which is tentatively scheduled for completion by the start of the fall 2004 semester. 

As part of the renovation, the art museum will be moved from Lee Hall to the Art and Design North Building.  The new museum will feature two art galleries within the museum, one for rotating exhibits – including student and community exhibits – and the other for exhibits from NMU’s large permanent collection.

“The groundbreaking ceremony is a chance to officially thank the DeVos family for their gift that will take us from a small university museum to the level of a significant art center,” said Wayne Francis, director of the NMU Art Museum.

Prepared By
Cindy Paavola
Director of Communications