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School of the Art Institute of Chicago Announces $5 Million Gift for LeRoy Neiman Student Center
LeRoy and Janet Byrne Neiman, Summertime Along the Indiana Dunes. Photo by Patty Carroll.
CHICAGO, IL.- School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) President Walter E. Massey today announced that former SAIC Faculty Member and Alumnus LeRoy Neiman and his wife, Janet Byrne Neiman (also an SAIC alumna) will make a $5 million gift to the institution to help create a new student center within SAIC’s building at 37 South Wabash Avenue. LeRoy Neiman’s brilliantly colored, motion-filled images of sporting events and leisure activities have made him perhaps the most popular living artist in the United States. A 56-foot-long, eight-foot-tall mural entitled “Summertime Along the Indiana Dunes,”(1965), co-signed by LeRoy and Janet Byrne Neiman, will be prominently displayed in the student center.

The new space, to be named the LeRoy Neiman Center, will transform the northeast corner of Monroe and Wabash into an energetic, light-filled gathering space for SAIC students, faculty, alumni and the general public. The two-story space will house a lounge, café, art gallery, and more.

“LeRoy Neiman’s gift allows us to create a student center for the first time in the history of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago,” said Dr. Massey. “This new space will extend our campus into the urban fabric of Chicago and serve as a gathering space for students, faculty, and alumni. I fully anticipate that the LeRoy Neiman Center will become the vibrant hub of the SAIC campus. We are tremendously grateful to the Neimans for their extraordinary generosity.”

“Contributing to SAIC is important to me because the care and support of students is essential,” said LeRoy Neiman. “Now, I have the opportunity to give back to the institution that helped me become who I am today.”

“Summertime Along the Indiana Dunes” was created by LeRoy Neiman with assistance from his wife, Janet Byrne Neiman, in 1965 for the Mercantile National Bank in Hammond Indiana. It was commissioned by Jack Murray, chairman of the Indiana bank, who met the young artist in a New York tavern. The 448-square-foot piece vibrantly depicts a sunny scene of family fun on the Indiana beaches. It is the largest mural ever created by the artist.

The LeRoy Neiman Center is scheduled to open in the spring of 2012. The architecture firm of Valerio Dewalt Train Associates has been retained to transform this space within Holabird & Roche’s 1903 building.

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