Specific planning for new arts facilities began in 2004 when the Board of Trustees approved the master plan that recognized the need for new facilities in the heart of campus. Multiple sites for the buildings were considered by the College and architect Graham Gund. Keeping the buildings close to each other on the central campus became a priority, given the convenience for students and the symbolic importance of an area dedicated to the visual arts.
Planning has included input from faculty members in the departments of Art History and Studio Art. A special task force, formed in 2006, focused on exhibition-space design. The task force was headed by then-Provost Gregory Spaid, a visual artist who this year returns to the faculty as a professor of art. The task force has included, at various times, six students, seven art and art history faculty members, and seven other members of the faculty and administration. During planning, representatives from Bowdoin College, the College of Wooster, the Columbus Museum of Art, Oberlin College, and Ohio State University's Wexner Center visited the campus to consult with faculty. Kenyon representatives visited art museums at Boston College, Brandeis University, MIT, Wellesley College, and Wooster.
Project architects have visited the campus many times in the last two years. Architects have also met many times with art and art history faculty and representatives of other College departments and offices.
Kenyon faculty members and residents who live outside of Gambier are looking forward to the opportunities the new spaces will provide. "The museum will serve not only the College community, but also the Knox County community, introducing local audiences to a full, heterogeneous spectrum of media and conceptual approaches to contemporary visual art," says art history professor Melissa Dabakis. "It is our hope to partner with regional and national museums as we exchange collections and collaborate on exhibitions, educational programs, and publications. In so doing, the new facility will serve as an important cultural resource like no other in the area."