Bradley-Deshon Education Center to open at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum

The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in St. Joseph is excited to announce the upcoming opening of the Bradley-DeShon Education Center. This new expansion has converted the historic carriage house building into two classrooms, a parent lounge, and offices for the Education Department. As Executive Director Eric Fuson explains, “Engaging the community with hands on educational experiences is core to the museum’s mission.” Classes for all ages will be in full swing by this summer.

When William and Lena Albrecht began construction on their dream home in 1933 amidst the Depression, they wanted to use as much St. Joseph labor as possible. Lehr Construction was selected as the general contractor although they had never completed a residential construction project. As proof of their abilities, the carriage house was built first to Mr. Albrecht’s satisfaction before work began on the house. Over the years the three-story building has served as a garage, staff living space, workshop, and museum storage.

Since the museum re-opened after COVID shutdowns in 2020, class attendance has more than doubled. This growth in interest from adults and children has increased the number of teachers and the variety of media taught, but the demand has highlighted the limitations of the current classroom. There had been dreams of utilizing the carriage house for museum programs, and its purpose became clear with this need for more dedicated classroom space.

Fundraising kicked off in 2022 with major gifts from area donors excited to support arts education. Fuson observes, “The amount of support we have received from the community has truly been phenomenal. Going from idea to fruition in less than 2 years couldn’t have happened without our generous donors and their belief in our mission.” Volunteers have been enthusiastically giving their time for the project as well as donations of classroom supplies and equipment.

The Bradley-DeShon Education Center gives the Education Department five times the space currently available in the main museum building. Director of Education Alex Asher says, “We are very excited for a more comfortable space for more students and to hold multiple classes at the same time. The new education center will allow us to explore new media because we now have room for new equipment such as kilns and a printing press.” The education programs will have more freedom to hold classes and workshops of all kinds outside of regular museum hours.

The museum is continuing to accept donations to stock the classrooms for all the future classes that this project makes possible. More information about the educational programs at the AKMA and how you can join or support them can be found at www.albrecht-kemper.org.

Financial assistance provided by the St. Joseph, Missouri Visitors Bureau

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KC Studio covers the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts, and the artists, organizations and patrons that make Kansas City a vibrant center for arts and culture.

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