Giving to the Gibbes opens a hopeful path | Chroniclers
At a time that was very difficult for arts organizations, the Gibbes Museum of Art said it was supported by philanthropy. This support had a positive impact on the institution’s bottom line – as well as its ability to do important work during the pandemic.
Membership support, private donations and fundraising efforts not only allowed the museum to end the exercise in the dark, but local philanthropy was fundamental to the museum being able to provide a exceptional programming when previously scheduled exhibitions have been canceled due to COVID-19 constraints.
“Despite a global pandemic, our Gibbes community has remained strong with over 400 other members,” Mack said.
Support included a million dollar donation from local philanthropists Kim and Jim Pallotta, the largest private donation since the museum’s inception.
The Gibbes also signaled the challenges and support of an unprecedented year by acknowledging another gesture during the pandemic.
The museum’s James Shoolbred Gibbes Philanthropy Award went to artist Jonathan Green and his partner Richard Weedman. The award, which honors the 1885 legacy of benefactor James Gibbes who started the business now known as the Gibbes Museum of Art, is presented annually to an individual, group or business that demonstrates outstanding philanthropic contributions to the Museum.
According to the Gibbes, after a scheduled exhibition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Green and Weedman stepped forward and allowed their private collection to be on display in the galleries. Green and Weedman let the Gibbes team run free with their extensive work in organizing the exhibition.
“Building a Legacy: The Vibrant Vision Collection of Jonathan Green and Richard Weedman” was on display at Gibbes from August to January.
The exhibition reflects the collector’s goal of going beyond the United States to include art and artists of African, Caribbean and Latin American descent. It featured Green’s own work as well as that of artists such as Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Charles White, David Driskell, Sam Gilliam and Reynier Llanes.
At the May 28 scholarship luncheon, when Green unexpectedly received the award, he was visibly moved when he accepted it. Recounting a transformative moment when a fire threatened to destroy the artwork, Green said he chose to stay in the building until he was sure he was safe. Green and Weedman have long championed under-recognized and emerging artists.
“I believe it’s my destiny, not just to be black and an artist, but to be a humanitarian,” Green said.
The award ceremony also marked the fifth anniversary of the reopening of the Gibbes after a $ 17 million restoration. Over lunch, Mack also praised museum colleagues for supporting the museum during the pandemic. According to Mack, Pallotta’s donation allowed the organization to reimburse the remainder of the expenses incurred for its extensive 2016 renovation.
Philanthropy played an important role during the pandemic, when the organization downsized its staff and operated for months in the locked building, featuring virtual programs and gallery tours to continue engaging art lovers.
Additional philanthropic support came from Gibbes’ two auxiliary groups, the Women’s Council and Society 1858. Together they raised over $ 140,000 to support the museum’s exhibition and education programs and the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art.
“Because our members believe in the power of the visual arts, we continue to make a difference in our community,” she said. “Art is the reason Gibbes exists, and through their generosity, it will continue to inspire children and adults for generations to come.
Follow Maura Hogan on Twitter at @msmaurahogan.