Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery

Museum (United States)
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Fulfilling an artist and teacher’s dream, the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery was built in 1957 and directs the work of the Birger Sandzén Memorial Foundation.

The idea for a gallery to honor Birger Sandzén was initially launched in 1955 with the incorporation of the Birger Sandzén Memorial Foundation: its primary purpose being to construct an art gallery in memory of Birger Sandzén on the Bethany College campus. Incorporators of the Foundation were Sandzén’s daughter, Mrs. Margaret Sandzén Greenough; his son-in-law, Charles Pelham Greenough, 3rd. of Lindsborg; and W. D. P. Carey of Hutchinson. Serving with them on the initial board of directors were Robert Mortvedt, John F. Hayes, William H. Taylor, Sr., and Ray V. Stapp. The gallery was made possible through a large donation made by Dr. and Mrs. Charles Pelham Greenough, 3rd., as well as numerous donations from friends of the Foundation.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Wednesday, August 29, 1956 to begin construction of what would be the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery. The officiating minister was Rev. Elmer Danielson and participants in the ceremony included Mrs. Birger Sandzén, Dr. and Mrs. Charles Pelham Greenough, 3rd, and Dr. Robert Mortvedt. A flag raising ceremony and recital was held on Bethany College’s Founders Day on October 15, 1957.

The architects for the Gallery were Robert Wehrli and Harold D. Engstrom of Casper, Wyoming. Initial work began on August 1, 1956, with the building being constructed of light steel and a red brick veneer facing 65 feet wide by 149 feet long. The gallery contains ten exhibition areas which include two corridors, two large rooms, four smaller rooms, a sculpture hall and a room for guest artists. The architects’ design provides an extensive exhibition area and a climate-controlled environment to protect the art. Actual construction of the gallery was completed by Johnson Brothers Construction Company of Salina, Kansas. [source]