For Immediate Release



Kyle Riley, Stone Ward for the Belz Museum



Belz Museum Offers Up Inspiration to University of Florida

Harn Museum New Asian Art Wing

Gators land in Memphis for new collaborative efforts


            Memphis (March 17, 2008) – When the Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida announced it would be adding a new 22,000 square-foot wing devoted to the Asian arts, museum officials embarked on exploratory visits, one of which was to the South’s most extensive collections of Asian cultural history– the Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art in Memphis. 

A recent visit by Harn Museum representatives stirred local interest with their arrival on the orange and white University of Florida plane.  The visit was a friendly and groundbreaking one during which Belz Museum founder Jack Belz offered a personal tour of the once-private collection. tour of the once-private collection.

            “Over the years we’ve added many pieces that make this museum a one-of-a-kind experience, each with its own historical and personal story,” said Belz.  “After our visit, knowing the Harn Museum’s outstanding reputation, their new Asian Art Wing will provide further insight into this fascinating culture.”

            The new addition to the University of Florida museum, tentatively set to be open in  2010, will feature two levels that of Asian art galleries, a mezzanine suite on the upper level for curatorial and museum activities and art storage and conservation space for the Asian collections on the lower level. An Asian garden will also be accessible from the west side of the new wing. 

The idea of bringing the two museums together was sparked when President of Vital Records and National Security and Trust Co. Russ Petty and his son Sean visited the University of Florida campus in late January.

Harn Museum representatives included Dr. David and Mary Ann Cofrin, Harn Museum benefactors; Paul Robell, Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs for the University of Florida; Jason Stueber, Cofrin Curator of Asian Art at the Harn Museum; Phyllis DeLaney, Director of Development for the Harn Museum and Rebecca Nagy, Director of the Harn Museum.

“We were extremely impressed with our visit at the Belz Museum,” said Nagy. “We look forward to continuing our relationship and future collaborative as we develop our new wing.”

            The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art is one of the largest university art museums in the southeastern United States. The Museum boasts 26,000 square feet of exhibit space, and the museum's permanent collections feature American, African, pre-Columbian, Asian and contemporary works of art. 

Opened in 1998, the Belz Museum blossomed from Jack Belz’ childhood passion for sharing beauty with others through art.  The Museum holds more than 900 pieces in both its Asian and Judaic collections and spans more than 10,000 square feet of display space.  From the palaces of ancient Asia to the temples of modern day Israel, the art found at the museum reflects the diversity and history of two distinct and captivating cultures. The Belz Museum also provides a range of educational programs, special events, and private events aimed at enriching the city’s artistic offerings.

For more information on the Belz Museum, call 901.523.ARTS or visit