UM-Dearborn Opens Stamelos Gallery Center Through $1M Gift

The University of Michigan-Dearborn has opened its Stamelos Gallery Center through a gift of more than $1 million from the estate of William and Electra Stamelos. A show featuring Electra Stamelos’ work and other pieces donated by the couple will open the gallery on Sept. 12 and run through Nov. 19
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William and Electra Stamelos, Electra Stamelos painting
The Stamelos Gallery Center has opened at UM-Dearborn thanks to a $1 million gift from the estate of William and Electra Stamelos. Pictured are William and Electra Stamelos and a painting by Electra Stamelos. // Photos courtesy of UM-Dearborn

The University of Michigan-Dearborn has opened its Stamelos Gallery Center through a gift of more than $1 million from the estate of William and Electra Stamelos. A show featuring Electra Stamelos’ work and other pieces donated by the couple will open the gallery on Sept. 12 and run through Nov. 19

“This beautiful new art center will allow us to present a wider variety of exhibits for the campus and the community, better preserve the artwork, provide expanded academic and professional work experiences for our students, and enrich our partnership opportunities,” says Laura Cotton, curator and manager of the center. “We are tremendously grateful for the generosity of Electra and Bill, whose major gift, along with the support of other donors, made this new gallery a reality.”

The space has two galleries that are divided by a moveable wall and is equipped with a museum-quality LED lighting system. It also has a collection storage room. The gallery walls are designed to allow for the installation of all art media and styles including opportunities to display contemporary immersive work and art that incorporates video and sound elements.

There is also a climate control system that allows staff to protect artwork in the collection and on loan. The upgrades allow the university to borrow from the collections of art institutions across the country.

The space’s location on the first floor of the Mardigian Library allows for easy visibility and public access. It is expected to attract guest artists and speakers.

The current exhibit, “Electra and Bill: Honoring an Immeasurable Contribution,” features watercolors and acrylic paintings by Electra Stamelos from the UM-Dearborn collection and work by other artists that were donated by the couple.

Electra Stamelos, who was born in 1927 and died in 2007, was an art lecturer at UM-Dearborn from 1980-1994. She was also the director of art acquisitions and exhibitions for UM-Dearborn for many years and taught on the Ann Arbor campus. Her work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. for decades and has won awards. It has been acquired by private and public art collections across the country.

William Stamelos, a photographer, was born in 1928 and died in 2017. He was a university donor and gallery volunteer for many years, acting as honorary curator for a time. The couple contributed to the university’s collection for decades and donated the majority of Electra Stamelos’ work and other pieces they collected.

The couple met when William Stamelos was stationed in the army in Virginia. They were married in 1953 and moved to the Detroit area soon after, where William Stamelos was from. Electra Stamelos earned her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Wayne State University and her master’s degree in fine arts from Eastern Michigan University. She also studied at the Corcoran Museum School and National Art School in Washington, D.C. and the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit.

Guests can RSVP to the grand opening here or by calling (313) 593-5130. The event will include wine, hors d’oeuvres, and live music. Parking will be available adjacent to Fairlane, Home of Clara and Henry Ford (previously the Henry Ford Estate). A shuttle will transport guests to and from the Mardigian Library. The exhibit is open to the public and free of charge.

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