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Kearney City Sign

Museum of Nebraska Art Breaks Ground for the Future of Nebraska Art and Artists

Kearney City Sign

It’s official: dignitaries broke ground today to launch an exciting new era for
the Museum of Nebraska Art (MONA). The turning of the dirt paves way for construction to begin on the
$25 million renovation, restoration and expansion project.

“Today is a capstone on years of planning to transform MONA into a welcoming cultural destination that
recognizes and responds to the evolving expectations of what an art museum might offer visitors,” said Tom
Gallagher, president of the MONA Board of Directors. “During MONA’s 45-year history, the initial collection of
30 artworks has expanded to close to 6,000, and the growth continues. Carefully renovating and restoring our
beautiful 1911 building and adding 23,000 square feet of new gallery, exhibition and public gathering spaces
will take MONA boldly into the future.”

Officials who broke ground for Nebraska art and artists were: Gov. Pete Ricketts; Sen. John Lowe; Kearney
Mayor, Stan Clouse; Gerry Lauritzen, Campaign for MONA honorary co-chair; Marilyn and Galen Hadley,
Campaign for MONA co-chairs; Tom Gallagher, MONA Board president; Nicole Herden, MONA executive
director; Jon Maass, MONA project director; and Mark Bacon, AIA, BVH Architecture.
“The renovation of the Museum of Nebraska Art will add galleries, expanding public access to our state’s
artistic treasures,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Nebraska has a rich artistic history, and the newly renovated
MONA facility will display it more vividly than ever before.”

As the official home of the Nebraska Art Collection as established by the Nebraska Legislature in 1979, MONA
is the only museum dedicated to telling the story of Nebraska through the art of Nebraska. MONA is committed
to making the experience of art more accessible and meaningful than ever, for all, and at a higher level than

“We have embarked on a historic $30 million campaign to anchor MONA as a state destination and point of
pride. Thank you to our supporters for joining us in investing in this vision for the region and the state through
our fundraising campaign called Nebraska Marvels, Campaign for MONA and the Future of Nebraska Art. We
have exceeded 70% of our $25 million fundraising goal for the restoration, renovation and expansion,” said
Marilyn Hadley, co-chair of Campaign for MONA. “We are on our way to raising the additional funds needed,
which includes an additional $5 million for an operating endowment to ensure maintenance of MONA spaces
and relevant programming that pays attention to the needs of present and future patrons of all ages.”

A panel discussion and unveiling followed the groundbreaking ceremony led by Maass, a museum consultant
based in New York, who specializes in guiding established museums and cultural institutions through the
complexities of programming, design, and construction. In conjunction with Bacon from BVH Architecture,
Maass is developing exciting plans for MONA’s transformation. He and other panelists discussed how MONA’s
expansion plans were envisioned and shaped, offering a view into the process of creating a more engaging
and enhanced experience for visitors, further establishing MONA as a vibrant beacon for Nebraska art and

“On behalf of all of our stakeholders and staff, thank you to our supporters for helping MONA reach this
historical moment with today’s groundbreaking. We are thrilled to share the exciting ways MONA will be
reimagined as one of Nebraska’s most accessible, engaging, and vibrant cultural institutions that leads us into
the next generation of our existence, building on our state-mandated mission to collect and showcase the art of
Nebraska, support artists throughout the state, and make the museum a key destination for all who travel
within, to, and through the Kearney area. As we work toward completion of this project, we look forward to
continuing to fulfill our mission to the state,” said Nicole Herden, MONA executive director.

What the public can expect when MONA reopens in 2023:

 Welcoming new entrances allowing greater accessibility for visitors of all ages and levels of physical
ability while providing deeper engagement with the permanent collection.
 Enlarged and enhanced spaces, indoors and out, designed for museum programming, community
events, and orienting tours.
 Additional spacious galleries for special exhibitions embracing modern technology and allowing more
extensive display of MONA’s permanent collection.
 An expanded and accessible Gary E. Zaruba Library and Research Center to accommodate MONA’s
growing collection of books, reference materials, and ephemera.
 A centrally located open commons area to house a lounge and expanded Anne Thorne Weaver
Museum Shop.

 A new suite of galleries housing the permanent collection.
 A new feature gallery dedicated to rotating exhibitions exploring special features of MONA’s permanent
 Convenient connection between administrative offices and the new expansion.

 Greatly expanded storage facilities.
 Fully updated mechanical systems with special attention given to collection safety.
 Dedicated space for artwork and exhibition care including art storage; matting and framing exhibition
preparation; photography and workshop area; crating; and crate storage areas.
During the construction period and leading up to the MONA’s reopening, the museum staff is working in the
Eagles Nest office complex located at 4111 4 th Avenue, Suite 50 in Kearney. Existing and new staff members
will offer innovative ways to stay connected to MONA and its collection through online and off-site initiatives.

MONA will team with other cultural partners to offer programs, including ARTreach, which will continue to
provide exhibitions to Nebraska communities.

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