Miami University Art Museum renamed in honor of donors

Credit: Jeff Sabo

Credit: Jeff Sabo

OXFORD — The Miami University Art Museum now has a new name — Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum, which was announced Friday a Naming and Unveiling Ceremony at the museum.

“I think it’s wonderful we have a name on the building. For years, you would just come up to the front, and other than some small signage, there wasn’t real presence on the building. This is a wonderful acknowledgement of Richard and Carole’s gifts, and it will be a real symbol for the university,” said Jason Shaiman, curator of exhibitions.

A gift from longtime donor Richard Cocks has resulted in the new name, in his honor and of his late wife, Carole. The amount of the unspecified gift is being kept private, but it is the largest gift in the museum’s 44-year history.

“Miami is such a special place in terms of all the art that we have, and it’s just wonderful to celebrate with one of our longstanding and most generous donors that we’ve ever had, one that’s given his service to Miami University over 40 years, and one that’s now given his generosity and his heart to us,” said Greg Crawford, Miami’s president.

At the naming ceremony, John Weigand, acting dean from the College of Creative Arts offered a welcome to guests and announced the new name.

“This is a momentous occasion for the university and the art museum, and we are honored to celebrate your contribution,” Weigand said to Richard, who was in attendance. “Your name on the building signifies that this museum is worthy of philanthropic investments. It’s a powerful signal of the support for art at Miami University and the impact of that support on the museums collections, and what an impact you and Carole have had here over the years.” said Weigand.

Other highlights Friday included the presentation of a “President’s Medal” to Cocks by Crawford, and a word about the “Impact on the Future” of the art museum by Jack Green, the Jeffrey Horrell ‘75 and Rodney Rose Director and Chief Curator at the museum.

Cocks also addressed the crowd from the podium, sharing “Reflections” on he and Carole’s love of art, his early days of art collecting and his relationship with the museum. To close out the ceremony, Weigand offered closing remarks.

“This milestone in our history will set us on course toward future enhancements to make the Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum at Miami University a center for excellence in collections-based teaching, as well as a destination for exhibitions, programs, and events for everyone across the university and wider community,” said Green.

Richard and Carole began collecting art in 1970. Their connection to the museum began in the early 1980s. To date, the couple has donated more than 60 artworks and other gifts to Miami over the years.

Their latest donation of 13 paintings includes a Frank Duveneck, two Edward Henry Potthasts, and an Elizabeth Nourse, plus four statues gifted to the College of Creative Arts. The public art museum, which is part of CCA, offers free admission. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

An unveiling of the new name on the building took place immediately following the program. The crowd gathered out in front of the building for the unveiling.

“For me, this is a wonderful day. I’m so pleased that my family and I can support the art museum. It’s a great institution,” Cocks said.

The gift will help fund programmatic renovations and contribute to future expansions of the museum, which was founded in 1978.

The museum houses five galleries of rotating and ongoing exhibitions and a growing permanent collection of more than 17,500 artworks from around the world.

The donation will also support the acquisition and maintenance of the museum’s collections.

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