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Following a 'transformational' gift, Miami University Art Museum gets a new name and plans for growth

exterior shot of glass and brick building with metal sculpture in foreground
Scott Kissell
/
Miami University
The newly renamed Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum

Arts patron Richard Cocks is donating a "transformational gift" that will fund renovations and future expansions at Miami University's art museum. The museum is being renamed in honor of him and his late wife.

The university unveiled the Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum Friday during a private event.

"My family and I are delighted to support the museum with this gift," Richard Cocks said in a prepared statement. "In addition to its excellent collections, the museum building is an architecturally significant structure, sited on an almost perfect parcel at the southeast entrance to the Miami campus."

The unspecified donation is said to be the "largest outright gift in the museum’s more than 40-year history."

"Richard Cocks and Carole Cocks, together, began donating artworks to the art museum in the early 1980s," explains Jack Green, the Jeffrey Horrell and Rodney Rose director and chief curator. "They started with donating fine porcelain and paintings followed, and they've also given financial gifts to the museum. Richard really felt that this would be an appropriate way to support the museum but also in terms of the vision for the future of the art museum as well at Miami University."

Expansion plans haven't been fleshed out yet. The existing 24,000-square foot museum was built in 1978.

"It's a wonderful building, but there are also many needs for the 21st century," says Green. "As our audiences and use of the museum have changed and our numbers have increased in terms of people engaging at the museum, we (think) it's really time to think about how we can transform the museum for the future, especially for our collections, future exhibitions, events and public programs."

In addition to expanding the physical building, the gift will expand the museum's collections. The Richard and Carole Cocks Fund will cover maintenance of the current collection as well as new acquisitions.

Along with the funding, Cocks, a retired chemical engineer who lives in Indian Hill, has also donated 13 works, including a painting by famed Ohio artist Frank Duveneck, two Edward Henry Potthasts, and an Elizabeth Nourse. These new acquisitions are on display now.

The museum is free and open to the public. An open house is planned for Dec. 10.

Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Prior to joining Cincinnati Public Radio, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She enjoys snow skiing, soccer and dogs.