Five Years In, the Gregg is Still Going Strong
In honor of the fifth anniversary of the Gregg Museum of Art & Design’s grand reopening, we’re celebrating the generous private support that helped make it all possible.
On Aug. 26, 2017, NC State breathed new life into the building formerly used as the chancellor’s residence via its grand reopening as the Gregg Museum of Art & Design. This phoenix of a facility, referred to as “the Gregg” for short, opened to the public following a community celebration and now displays a wide variety of artistic works for its visitors free of charge.
The Gregg also doubles as an educational venue for NC State students of every major, making it an invaluable “re-addition” to the university’s campus.
As of this writing, the Gregg has welcomed 60,935 visitors from all 50 states and 61 countries to view a total of 28 exhibits, with 14 online exhibits also offered via the Gregg’s website. The latter were especially helpful during the early days of COVID-19, giving e-visitors a chance to forget the present for a while in favor of the aesthetically pleasing past.
“Within two weeks after the university closed (in mid-March 2020), the Gregg pioneered the use of 3-D virtual-reality technology for preserving and presenting museum exhibitions, making it possible for online visitors from anywhere in the world to navigate themselves through our exhibitions at their own pace, examine displayed items up close and read all of the educational texts provided,” Gregg Director and Curator Roger Manley said. “Gregg staff soon found themselves advising other museums on how to do the same thing.”
In recognition of all this, the Gregg received a 2021 Gold Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. The museum also has won three Southeastern Museums Conference awards — Silver Awards for two exhibitions and a Gold Award for Technology in Digital Marketing — and the Triangle CREW Community Enhancement Champion Award. It was named Best Museum in the Triangle in 2018 and Best Kept Secret in 2022 by INDY Week, too, among many other accolades.
All of this in just five short, COVID-affected years.
The Gregg’s reopening and subsequent success were made possible in large part by gifts to the university during its recent Think and Do the Extraordinary Campaign. At the forefront of those donations was a $3.44 million planned gift creating the Robert Keith Black and J. Ormond Sanderson Jr. Endowment, which will enable the museum to:
- Design, install and present engaging and diverse exhibitions.
- Offer thought-provoking programming and publications that build on visitors’ experiences with the exhibitions.
- Acquire new art for the museum’s diverse collection, which currently includes more than 35,000 objects.
If that wasn’t extraordinary enough, endowment namesakes Black and Sanderson also made significant current-use gifts to support the Gregg. The two have truly made a mark on NC State — and the art world as a whole — that will last far into the future.
“Their gift gave us the confidence to take risks with trying to present our audiences with things they’d rarely encounter otherwise,” Manley said. “People who have been to the Gregg more than once know that, each time they visit, they will see something they’ve never seen before, and perhaps learn something they’ve never thought of before. They may even discover beauty where they never thought it would exist.”
These discoveries in beauty include exhibitions that have explored modern design, kinetic sculptures, art made with smoke and by dancing through ink, tintypes, sculptures made from scientific instruments and much, much more.
“Art and design have been my life,” Ormond said at the time of the Gregg’s reopening. “It’s very gratifying to be able to support education through the arts. When one looks at development in the scientific and engineering fields, it becomes apparent that art, design, science and engineering are inexorably entwined, and this is why the Gregg’s purpose is so meaningful and relevant.”
Black seconded that thought.
“People who come to the Gregg and see these various exhibits may be encouraged to go and do something a little different. We view the Gregg as a vehicle of opportunity to encourage and support the advancement of education through the media of art and design — revealing the relevance of the one to the other.”
For more information on the Gregg Museum of Art & Design and how you can help support its mission, please visit gregg.arts.ncsu.edu.