Remarkable Gifts Energize the Wadsworth in our 170th Year
As the curtain rose on the 170th year of the Wadsworth, we were overjoyed to receive new financial resources. The multi-million dollar funds will help us expand our collection of European art works and complete the final phase of the renovation we began shortly after I arrived six years ago.
Since its opening in 1844, the Wadsworth has built a firm foundation for serving the international and local communities through a stellar collection of art; the first beaux-arts, early-modern and late-modern museum buildings in the world; and countless exhibitions and programs that engage and welcome patrons new and old into the museum every day. Our recent renovation helps us ensure the integrity of our buildings and the safe storage of our precious treasures. In 2015 we will debut 31 vibrant, refurbished galleries and the first complete reinstallation of our permanent collection in nearly 30 years.
It is no small feat to restore multiple buildings and create new installations highlighting the best of our collection of 50,000 works. We at the Wadsworth are blessed with a staff of talented and driven individuals, but we are also extremely fortunate to be the recipients of others’ good will. Gifts from individual donors, artists, governmental agencies and corporations are vital to a museum’s wellbeing. Without them we could not move forward.
So it brought great pleasure as last year was ending to learn that the museum had received a $9.6 million bequest from the estate of an old friend to the Wadsworth, Charles H. Schwartz. This new endowment will support the acquisition of English and European artworks from the 18th century or earlier. The impact of a gift of this size is paramount to the successful growth of the museum’s collection, and will positively affect generations of museum goers to come. Our gratitude for Mr. Schwartz’s generosity abounds!
Shortly after that good news, we got another big boost when we heard that the museum was awarded $5 million by the Connecticut State Bond Commission, chaired by Gov. Dannel Malloy, a great friend of the arts and the Wadsworth. That money was in addition to $20 million the commission awarded earlier to support our ongoing renovation project. The newest grant will cover the remainder of our efforts.
As if these gifts were not enough to propel us into 2014, internationally renowned artist Richard Tuttle donated one of his rare early works, Formal Narration, to the museum’s contemporary art collection. He has dedicated this work to his graduating class at Trinity, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last June. Formal Narration will be on view in a new installation of our contemporary art collection opening soon.
We hope you will come along for the journey as we prepare to unveil new and remarkable artworks and galleries. While some galleries will be closing in late February to accommodate the ongoing renovation we will be sharing behind-the-scenes efforts via our social media channels and our digital newsletter, Instant Atheneum. Our Matrix series will continue as will a full array of films, lectures, and educational programs. And mark your calendars now for the exciting debut of the epic exhibition, Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861- 2008, opening January 31, 2015!
Thank you for sharing in the celebration as we prepare to launch the museum into the next phase of our remarkable history.
Health and happiness to you and yours in 2014,
Susan L. Talbott
Director & C.E.O.