UMD President Wallace Loh hints at new arts addition to Route 1
By Evan Berkowitz
For The Diamondback
University President Wallace Loh wrote in a welcome email to students that “a new art gallery” could “potentially” occupy space adjacent the planned Route 1 arts and entertainment complex.
Two senior university communications officials further confirmed that the potential gallery is part of the university’s nearly year-old partnership with The Phillips Collection, a Washington, D.C. private modern art museum.
The partnership, announced in October 2015, planned to include “a new gallery and open art storage facility in Prince George’s County,” according to a joint news release from the time. A Diamondback report from the time said the facility would be located in College Park, though its location and funding had not been settled.
The facility, per the Diamondback report, would be called “The Phillips Collection at the University of Maryland.”
The potential gallery Loh mentioned would be adjacent to The Hotel at the University of Maryland. Brian Ullmann, university vice president for marketing and communications, said the gallery would be adjacent to but not a part of a new arts and entertainment complex announced in March.
The complex, being built by the firm of developer alumnus Scott Plank, is slated for spring 2017 completion, according to a March 30 news release, but Ullmann said by phone that the two projects exist on separate timelines.
“[The gallery] is not part of the complex, they are two separate projects,” he said. “The only thing that relates them is that they are essentially adjacent to each other. … There is no timeline to open the Phillips Collection complex.”
He said the potential gallery project is in its early phases.
“I think that we’re still in the preliminary stage of looking at that project,” he said. “Any time there’s a joint project between two organizations, that’s something that needs careful evaluation, and that’s the stage we’re in right now.”
Loh’s email Friday morning appears to be the first mention of an art gallery on the site, but further details on its nature, funding and specific construction schedule were not immediately available.
Phillips Collection spokeswoman Amanda Hunter declined to comment.
“We’re working closely with the … staff of the Phillips Collection on it,” Ullmann said in the phone interview. “It’s very much a joint project.”
This story has been updated to reflect that Amanda Hunter declined to comment. Previously she had not immediately been able to comment.