‘Grand’ commitment makes history

‘Grand’ commitment makes history

‘Grand’ commitment makes history at Memorial Art Gallery

Jonathan Binstock, the Mary W. and Donald R. Clark Director of the Memorial Art Gallery, announced a $3.5 million commitment from a generous patron for the expansion, renovation, and perpetual support of the museum’s Grand Gallery. The gift is the largest the museum has received in its 104-year history.

The announcement was made following a celebration for the Memorial Art Gallery’s most ambitious and successful fundraising campaign, Gateways to Art, which raised $18.4 million. Binstock remarked that this landmark commitment helps sustain the momentum created by a monumental community effort, ensuring the museum continues to grow and evolve.

“Advancing our mission to enrich people’s lives and build community through the direct experience of art and creativity requires us to use current, relevant, and resonant forms of communication.

Memorial Art Gallery (University photo / J. Adam Fenster)

“I could not be more grateful to this generous donor for helping us better engage with our audiences,” Binstock said. “We have dreams for what we want the Memorial Art Gallery to become, and we’re fortunate to have friends who make them possible.”

University of Rochester President and CEO Joel Seligman complemented Binstock’s sentiments by highlighting the true beneficiaries of the commitment.

“This is really a gift to the citizens of Rochester,” Seligman said. “Everything the museum is now able to do will be for the benefit of those who use it. On behalf of the University and the entire Rochester community, I would like to offer my deepest thanks to the donor for embodying the true spirit of the museum.”

To bring the Rochester community larger exhibitions, the museum will substantially increase the size of the Grand Gallery, which will also be renamed the Docent Gallery at the donor’s request.

Broad-scale renovations will accompany the larger Docent Gallery and enhance the overall visitor experience. State-of-the-art technology upgrades and faster internet connectivity will enable the museum to pair traditional art with advanced educational tools, display media art, and provide more interactive opportunities. Other enhancements include new movable and energy-efficient lighting, new walls, and a refinished floor.

The Memorial Art Gallery’s endowment, which supports exhibitions, will also benefit from this generosity.

About the Memorial Art Gallery

The Memorial Art Gallery is considered one of the finest regional art museums in the country. Its permanent collection of 12,000 works spans 50 centuries of world art and includes important works by Monet, Cézanne, Matisse, Homer, and Cassatt. It houses the only full-size Italian Baroque organ in North America, on permanent loan from the Eastman School of Music. Outside, the Centennial Sculpture Park features installations by Tom Otterness, Jackie Ferrara, Wendell Castle and Albert Paley.

The museum was founded in 1912 by Emily Sibley Watson as a memorial to her son, architect James Averell. Given in trust to the University, the museum is one of the few university-affiliated art museums in the country that also serves as a public art museum.

—Meg Colombo, November 2016

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