The Philadelphia Museum of Art announced today that it has met the goal of a major five-year initiative, The Lenfest Challenge, having raised a total of $54 million to endow 29 staff positions in its curatorial, conservation, library, archive, education, publishing, and digital technology departments.
H. F. (Gerry) Lenfest, Chairman Emeritus of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, and his wife, Marguerite, offered a $27 million grant in September 2008, challenging donors to match this gift on a one-to-one basis to endow and name these positions. A total of 27 donors have now done so, providing much-needed additional funding to support one of the Museum’s core resources: its professional staff.
Constance H. Williams, Chair of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, said: “The Museum applauds Gerry and Marguerite’s bold leadership in establishing The Lenfest Challenge, a galvanizing act that addresses the heart of our needs. We are deeply grateful for this exceptional gift, and for the way in which it has encouraged others to step up and provide funding for key positions in many different departments. This represents a milestone in the history of this institution.”
Timothy Rub, the Museum’s George D. Widener Director and CEO, said: “The Lenfests are among the most thoughtful and generous philanthropists of our time, leading by example and inspiring others to do the same. It is a wonderful moment to celebrate the extraordinary success of this investment in our staff. The support we have received to meet The Lenfest Challenge speaks volumes about the breadth of support for this institution in the community. It will provide a strong foundation for the work that remains to be done to provide the financial resources needed to sustain our work and ensure that the Philadelphia Museum of Art remains one of this country’s finest art museums.”
The success of The Lenfest Challenge has made the Museum a leader among its peers nationally for the number of positions it has endowed, bringing the total of named positions to 50. Augmenting its endowment, which has a current value of just over $400 million, has long been a priority for the Museum, as it generates far less operating income from this source than many of its peers, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. For this reason, initiatives such as The Lenfest Challenge are vitally important. Income from the endowment will enable the Museum to continue to attract and retain talented professional staff as well as sustain the excellence of its programs and activities.
When The Lenfest Challenge was initiated, Museum Trustee Keith Sachs and his wife, art historian Katherine Sachs, were the first donors to respond, supporting the position of Carlos Basualdo, now named The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art. Although the recent economic recession created a challenging fundraising environment, other donors followed. The last position to be funded through this initiative, The Agnes and Jack Mulroney Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture before 1900, is held by Christopher Atkins, a specialist in Dutch painting.
On Thursday, December 19, 2013, the Museum will celebrate this achievement, thanking the many generous donors who stepped forward to match the Lenfests’ generous commitment.
Below is a list of the staff and named positions endowed through The Lenfest Challenge.
The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art
The Martha Hamilton Morris Archivist
Susan K. Anderson
The Constance Williams Curator of Education, School and Teacher Programs
Barbara A. Bassett
The William T. Ranney Director of Publishing
Generously endowed by Mrs. J. Maxwell Moran
The Gloria and Jack Drosdick Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture before 1900 and the Rodin Museum
Generously endowed by David Haas
Beth A. Price
The Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center
The Kathy and Ted Fernberger Curator of Prints
John W. Ittmann
The Montgomery-Garvan Associate Curator of American Decorative Arts
Generously endowed by Robert L. McNeil, Jr.
Alexandra Alevizatos Kirtley
The Aronson Senior Conservator of Paintings and Vice Chair of Conservation
Mark S. Tucker
The Hannah L. and J. Welles Henderson Associate Curator of Chinese Art
The Le Vine Associate Curator of Costume and Textiles and Supervising Curator for the Study Room
H. Kristina Haugland
The Zoë and Dean Pappas Curator of Education, Public Programs
The Penny and Bob Fox Conservator of Costume and Textiles
The Louis C. Madeira IV Associate Curator of European Decorative Arts
The John and Chara Haas Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture
Generously endowed by The Wyncote Foundation recommended by Frederick R. Haas
The J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700
Kathryn Bloom Hiesinger
The Mainwaring Curator of Drawings
The John H. McFadden and Lisa D. Kabnick Director of Information and Interpretive Technologies
The Charles K. Williams, II, Senior Conservator of Works of Art on Paper
The Kathy and Ted Fernberger Associate Director for Interactive Technology
The Theodor Siegl Conservator of Paintings
Generously endowed by Daniel W. Dietrich II
The Berton and Sallie Korman Associate Curator of Education for Family and Community Learning
The Park Family Director of Installation Design
The Joan and John Thalheimer Conservator of Paintings
The Zoë and Dean Pappas Deputy Director of Collections and Programs
Alice O. Beamesderfer
The John Alchin and Hal Marryatt Associate Curator of Contemporary Art
The Ira Brind and Stacey Spector Associate Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art
The Agnes and Jack Mulroney Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture before 1900
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The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest museums in the United States, with a collection of more than 227,000 works of art and more than 200 galleries presenting painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, decorative arts, textiles, and architectural settings from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Its facilities include its landmark Main Building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Perelman Building, located nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Rodin Museum on the 2200 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and two 18th-century houses in Fairmount Park, Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove. The Museum offers a wide variety of activities for public audiences, including special exhibitions, programs for children and families, lectures, concerts and films.
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