Paintings of historic Ann Arbor buildings to come to Concordia University Oct. 23

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

A gallery at CUAA (Courtesy: Concordia University Ann Arbor)

ANN ARBOR - Calling all history buffs and art lovers.

Concordia University Ann Arbor is about to launch an exhibition with a special connection to the city at Kreft Center Gallery (4090 Geddes Road). 

Starting Oct. 23, 33 paintings of Ann Arbor buildings by American artist Daniel K. Gregory will be on display.

Many of the well-known buildings, dating to the early 1800s, are no longer standing.

Gregory's depictions of commercial buildings, schools, iconic homes and cityscapes will come to life and recreate a city of times past during this five-day long exhibition.

On Oct. 26, Concordia is holding an opening reception and gallery talk from 7 to 9 p.m.

The collection will be permanently installed at CUAA's North Building at 3475 Plymouth Road following the completion of building renovations.

Until now, the paintings have not been available to the public. 

Longtime Ann Arbor resident and Ann Arbor Rotary Club member Jim Irwin commissioned the collection, which took Gregory roughly five years to complete.

The artist relied on research collected by Irwin over seven years to bring the buildings back to life in his artwork. Part of the research included interviews with some of the original homeowners' descendants, as well as accessing archived images at the public library to study the structures.

"Those buildings were handpicked," said Irwin in a statement. "Each one tells its own unique story and the collection as a whole tells an aggregate story."

For many years, the private collection hung in Irwin's office building -- a property he recently sold to investors. With the sudden lack of "gallery space," Irwin decided to donate the collection to CUAA.

He said  he chose CUAA because he supports its mission as a Lutheran university. 

"I think the mission of Concordia is as good as it comes within higher education," Irwin said in a statement. "If you want to get your heart warm, just walk through campus and talk to a Concordian. All of a sudden, you start to realize that the world’s a pretty good place."

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