Seeing Miró go ‘bittersweet’

As Joan Miro’s great mosaic is temporarily removed, WSU Foundation announces $3 million campaign to support conservation of world masterpiece

See Miro Go conservators removing a tile from the Miro mosaic
Art conservators Andy Breidenbach and Justin Grotrian from Russell-Marti remove a tile of Joan Miró’s Personnages Oiseaux (Bird People) from the Ulrich Museum of Art’s façade during the See Miró Go event. The occasion marked the beginning of the conservation process to save the world masterpiece and the WSU Foundation’s public announcement of a $3 million campaign to support the effort and the museum.

In typical glitzy Ulrich Museum of Art fashion – complete with human statues, free T-shirts and confetti – spectators gathered at the museum’s main entrance on Tuesday, Sept. 27, to “See Miró Go.”

The splashy, once-in-a-lifetime event commemorated the de-installation of the campus icon and world masterpiece, Joan Miró’s Personnages Oiseaux (Bird People), from the building’s façade. It also marked the beginning of the conservation effort to save the great mosaic.

“This is a somewhat bittersweet moment,” said Patricia McDonnell, Ulrich Museum of Art director, speaking to the crowd. “But it’s our responsibility to care for this work.”

At the event, Elizabeth King, Wichita State University Foundation president and CEO, publicly announced the WSU Foundation’s $3 million fundraising campaign to support the mosaic’s conservation and the museum.

Of the overall goal, $2.2 million will go toward direct costs related to the conservation of the masterpiece and $800,000 will be designated for improvements to the Ulrich Museum facilities to care and maintain its artwork collection, she said.

As evidenced by the falling tiles during the last few years, the masterwork has been deteriorating in the harsh Kansas climate. Dedicated 33 years ago in October, the Miró mosaic — one of only four in the United States and 11 worldwide — will be absent from its home for five years and is expected to be re-installed in fall 2016.

Other speakers at the event were WSU President Don Beggs, Mike Michaelis, Miró Conservation Campaign committee co-chair, Matt Onstott, WSU Student Government Association president, and Joan Beren ’83, Ulrich Museum Advisory Board member attendee at the mosaic’s installation.

To help save the world treasure, please visit or contact Diana Gordon, WSU Foundation director of development for the Ulrich Museum of Art, at (316) 978-7307 or

Click here to view a list of the major supporters as of Oct. 13, 2011.

© 2014 Wichita State University Foundation

Wichita State University Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.