ODU hopes new $35M Barry Art Museum will make big educational, cultural impact

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — “Art makes people think, it makes people love, and it provokes questions,” said artist Laura Donefer.

Donefer believes art can teach people a lot, so it only made sense for some of her creations to go on display where students have easy access. 

“Being in a collection like this in a university setting to me is like a huge honor,” Donefer explained. 

Her glass art pops among the other pieces in the new Barry Art Museum.

It’s a $35 million gift from Richard and Carolyn Barry, the largest in Old Dominion University’s history.

The building sits next to the Ted Constant Convocation Center and consists of four different exhibit rooms, one with only dolls.

The museum’s executive director, Jutta Page, says it will become an educational and cultural resource for not only students and staff, but also for the entire community.

“We hope we will become an integral part of the Hampton Roads area,” Page​​​​ stated. 

She believes the exhibits will provide a lot opportunities for their diverse student population. 

“Many of them probably to be introduced to an art museum for the first time in their lives,” Page said. 

Donefer says this is a game changer for Norfolk and ODU’s campus because art enriches everyday life. 

“You can’t have a city without, I mean if you were just working in your little office every day and not being able to breathe from within, I think that would be a very soul destroying existence,” Donefer smiled. 

The museum will be open to the public for the first time on Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and there is no entry fee.


Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Jutta Page’s name.

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