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What's next for the Ackland?: National Advisory Board discusses rebranding and goals


Ackland National Board Member Arete Warren discusses the dedication required to maintain the vitality of the Ackland Art Museum on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 at The Franklin Hotel in Chapel Hill.

The Ackland Art Museum National Advisory Board met Oct. 5 at the Franklin Hotel to discuss the museum’s rebranding and finances, diversifying the board and the Ackland’s goals for the upcoming year.

The National Advisory Board meets regularly to give advice and counsel to the Ackland and to help raise funds for the museum, said Katie Ziglar, director of the Ackland.

Ariel Fielding, Ackland director of communications, began the meeting by discussing a site study done on the Ackland to determine the best places to put rebranded signs. Fielding said the Ackland staff plans to put cast-aluminum, painted letters spelling the museum’s name on the stone wall in front of the Ackland.

"The letters are about four feet high and it'll have an LED strip a few inches in front,” Fielding said.

The LED strip will light up at night, Fielding said, and additional LED strips will be placed in the archway of the museum’s front door. The Ackland staff is also adding more banners, changing the sign on the back of the museum and updating the Ackland website to showcase the new brand, Fielding said. 

The Ackland had a fundraising event, “Zoom In! Introducing the Ackland Art Museum’s Smart New Look,” Oct. 5 to showcase the rebrand. Event attendees went to a series of Spotlight Suppers in Chapel Hill and the Premiere Party at the Ackland celebrating the new brand. 

The old brand was outdated and not exciting, Ziglar said, and there was no distinction between the Ackland and University brands. 

"The connection to Carolina will be there but it won't be the overwhelming thing,” Ziglar said. “The big message will be the Ackland Art Museum.”

Ziglar hopes the new magenta color and the new font indicate energy, excitement, confidence and will appeal to UNC students.

After the Ackland rebrand discussion, board member Arete Swartz Warren spoke about National Advisory Board nominations and diversification. Warren said that she and board treasurer, Denise Murrell, are heading the nominations. Murrell was not present at the meeting and Warren spoke on her behalf.

"She looked me straight in the eye and said, diversity does not mean ethnicity — it's part of it," Warren said. "Ethnicity is only one part of our mission to diversify this board. It is gender, culture, collecting interests, the ability to give, the ability to find people who can give and the ability to give in discussion and in committees participation."

Warren said that it is the responsibility of all board members to ensure nominees are dedicated to the Ackland, to maintaining its traditions and to expanding its collections and footprint.

Next, board member D. Smith Freeman and Ackland finance and administration manager Erin Kernen examined the Ackland’s budget and finances. 

Freeman and Kernen outlined how the 2019 budget matched with the actual amount spent, next year’s budget plan, the museum's sources of income and how the Ackland’s funding sources are used. They also outlined the museum's funding opportunities and the projects that had been selected for growth in 2020.

After the budget discussion, board member A. Douglas Rothwell and Mary Gard, Ackland director of external affairs, reviewed some of the Ackland’s accomplishments and goals for the upcoming year.

The Ackland is a critical resource for UNC, Gard and Rothwell said. It has 200 free and low-cost programs; 40 docents and 275 tours; and works with 3,600 K-12 students, 147 faculty members and 10,000 UNC students from 130 classrooms. 

Gard and Rothwell said the Ackland staff plans to use UNC’s redevelopment of Porthole Alley as a catalyst to turn the Ackland into a bridge between campus and community life. 

The Ackland staff also plans to raise $175,000 to conduct a space-use study in the upcoming year, Gard and Rothwell said.

"The purpose of this is to look at the space we have today for various uses; exhibition, office, classroom, teaching, that sort of thing, public programs,” Ziglar said, “and compare that to what other museums have and what we project ourselves to need up to the next 75 years."

Ziglar said the Ackland needs an auditorium, classrooms and more office space for employees. 


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