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Utica arts center reveals new name and brand

By Traci DeLore (tdelore@cnybj.com)

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Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute is now known simply as Munson under a rebranding initiative. (Photo credit: Munson)

UTICA, N.Y. — Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute has shortened its moniker, and the Utica museum and arts organization will simply go by Munson going forward.

“Clarifying our identity and making our campus even more welcoming to the community are vital components of the five-year strategic plan we launched in 2019,” Anna Tobin D’Ambrosio, Munson president and CEO, said in a release. “Community engagement and exceptional experiences are central to all we do.”

Munson worked with Brooklyn–based design agency Order to develop the new brand and identity with a goal to honor the legacy of the 104-year-old organization while also representing a lively outlook.

After meeting with community members and surveying visitors, members, and staff, the organization learned that while it has a strong national and regional presence, few people knew it by its full, multiple-hyphenated name, D’Ambrosio noted. “Our new name and brand will clarify who we are as an organization,” she added.

The name of the college of art and design will change from PrattMWP to Pratt Munson, starting with the incoming class of the 2023-2024 academic year in August. Munson has partnered since 1999 with the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn as an upstate New York extension campus of the school where students may choose to complete the first two years of Pratt Institute curriculum in Utica with smaller class sizes and a lower cost.

Munson’s new brand also includes a new color palette from combinations found in archival Munson publications and a custom revival-style typeface inspired by the original hand lettering, created by Elaine Lustig Cohen, on the 1960 Museum of Art building.

Munson plans to redesign its Utica campus with proposals to add more green space, a café, and other changes. (Photo credit: Munson)

The name change is one step in the overall plan to redesign the 10-acre, 25-building campus in Utica.

“Munson is a cultural heart of the region and a vibrant arts destination,” D’Ambrosio said. “Our dynamic brand and bold blueprint for the campus were developed over several years. These changes build our vision and strengths to prepare us to better serve the region for generations.”

Munson is working with New York City design firm Cooper Robertson to redesign the Utica campus. Proposals include reimagined public green spaces, a café, a family gallery, and a maker’s studio and updated studio classrooms at Munson’s School of Art.

“Across our campus — in the museum galleries, auditorium, and in our classrooms and studios — Munson harnesses the power of art to cultivate curiosity, educate, entertain, and inspire Central New Yorkers and beyond,” F.X. Matt III, Munson board chair, said. “The arts are also an important economic driver in our region. A strong, focused plan for the future of Munson is a positive development for all of us.”

Munson is a fine-arts center that serves audiences through its Museum of Art, live performances, events, and community art classes. Founded in 1919, the center was originally named for three generations of one Utica family — from Alfred Munson to Helen Munson Williams to Rachel Munson Williams Proctor.

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