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  Avila Announces Art Gallery Expansion    
  Kansas City, MO  
February 11, 2008

With a growing reputation in the Kansas City arts community, Avila’s Thornhill Gallery attracts large audiences to its shows of local and regional interest. Such attendance is welcome, but it does highlight the gallery’s limited size and isolated location.

In the spring of 2009, Avila will open the new Thornhill Gallery and adjacent Sister Margaret Reinhart Courtyard in the Dallavis Center. Featuring moving display walls, ample storage and gallery lighting, the gallery will have one third more exhibition space, and the space to show much larger pieces of art. The courtyard will feature seating areas and a sculpture garden, serving as an extension of the gallery.

The new Thornhill Art Gallery will replace the current facility to create a modern exhibition and teaching space. The gallery project provides a great return for a modest investment by making use of existing space adjacent to the School of Visual and Communication Arts. The new gallery will be an asset to the University and to the Kansas City community. As a versatile art space, it will continue to offer a strong slate annual slate of shows available to school groups and individual visitors from the metropolitan area.

The existing Thornhill Art Gallery was named in honor of Mr. Edward A. Thornhill, a former Trustee, great friend to Avila and long time supporter.  His wife Mary Agnes continues to be a gracious benefactor to the University.  In memory of Mr. Thornhill, Mrs. Thornhill and family generously agreed to assist in the relocation and expansion of the gallery. Said son Tom, "My siblings and I were unanimous in our response to the University's invitation to perpetuate our father's commitment to Avila. He couldn't say no to Sister Olive Louise."

Sr. Margaret Reinhart, beloved faculty member and chair of the art department, served Avila from 1945-1997, training two generations of students. Sister’s family--niece Molle (’55) and her husband Corky; great nephew Patrick and his wife Janna (’90)--have made a gift to the University which will create the Sr. Margaret Reinhart Courtyard. Featuring a sculpture garden as well as a seating/gathering space, the courtyard will honor Sister’s faith and her dedication to the University.