JoCo Vanguard 

It's probably for the best, what with some 237 new pieces of contemporary art, that Johnson County Community College went ahead and constructed the Nerman Museum (12345 College Boulevard, Overland Park, 913-469-8500), JoCo's first and only museum of contemporary art. "Most of it [the art] was acquired through the Oppenheimer Foundation," says Curator of Education Karen Gerrity, referring to benefactors Tony and Marti Oppenheimer. "They've been involved with the college since before the museum, starting with sculpture for the campus. They've been accumulating art for the museum over the last several years, for the permanent collection."We have three permanent-collection galleries, and now we have a great number of works to rotate through. Plus, we have new changing-exhibition galleries, for a total of nine now," Gerrity says. Works by prominent contemporary artists, including Dana Schutz, Brian Finke, and Uta Barth, will occupy the walls and floor space. Gerrity singles out a sculptural work by Do Ho Suh: "It's a robe made entirely of stainless-steel dog tags," she says. "He's a Korean artist. Also, the college commissioned New York artist Leo Villareal to design an LED light-installation sculpture — it's outside the museum, and it's on every day." For today's official public opening of the Nerman Museum, the staff has planned a number of activities. "We'll have some giveaways — T-shirts, tote bags, pencils, magnets. There are T-shirts that children can decorate with fabric markers, and a scratch-art project for families. We're featuring artist videos from the PBS series Art: 21. And of course, we'll have food, music and lots of activity." Check out the new museum from 2 to 5 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 27, 2007

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