The MFA received generous gifts from the following donors toward new investments in support of the current strategic planning initiative: Trustee Abigail Ross Goodman and her husband Mark; Trustee Patricia Kraft and her husband Jonathan; Trustee Jeffrey M. Leiden and his wife Lisa; Honorary Trustee Joyce Linde; Honorary Trustee Penny Vinik and her husband Jeff; and Trustee Roberta Weiner and her husband Stephen.
Trustee Amy Poorvu and her husband Jonathan established the Amy and Jonathan Poorvu Fund to support public educational programs at the Museum.
Generous gifts for future jewelry rotations in the Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation Gallery came from Honorary Trustee Susan Beth Kaplan and Honorary Trustee Frederic A. Sharf and Honorary Overseer Jean S. Sharf.
Honorary Overseer Lorraine D. Bressler made a gift to fund the Museum’s Performance Art Program and the position of Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art and MFA Programs held by Liz Munsell. The Performance Art Program, led by Liz, was inaugurated in 2011 with the opening of the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art and significantly expanded in 2013. This gift allows the MFA—one of the first encyclopedic museums in the country to integrate performance art into its collection—to direct more resources to this program and remain at the forefront of current trends in contemporary art.
The MFA continues to receive gifts in support of its unique cultural celebrations, which make use of the Museum’s collection to recognize and honor the many diverse communities of Boston and New England. The Mabel Louise Riley Foundation provided two years of funding for the Museum’s Lunar New Year Celebration. This community celebration offers visitors free admission and a wide range of activities designed to introduce them to the Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese New Year traditions. Overseer Azi Djazani made a gift to fund Nowruz, the MFA’s annual Persian New Year Festival, which features world-class music and dance performances, art-making activities, films, artist demonstrations, and gallery tours and talks. The most recent Nowruz celebration was held on March 19, 2016. In 2014 and 2015, Nowruz was supported by YAS Capital Partners and YAS Foundation.
The Museum expanded its program of cultural celebrations by hosting a Greek Community Day on September 19, 2015. The event served to introduce children, adults, and families to Greek art and culture through our collection and free educational programming. Greek Community Day was made possible by the support of seven funders.
Another important gift dedicated to cultural programming was made by Honorary Overseer John P. Axelrod, who established the Darwin Cordoba Fund for Latin American Art to support lectures and exhibitions on Latin American art from 1900 to 1955. The Fund, which recognizes and furthers the mission of the Art of the Americas Wing to embrace the cultural diversity of the Americas, sponsored the exhibition “Samba Spirit: Modern Afro Brazilian Art” and the Darwin Cordoba Lectures at the Museum. The most recent Darwin Cordoba Lecture took place at the MFA on March 6, 2016.
A pioneering gift came from an anonymous donor who supported the installation of “The Triumph of the Winter Queen,” a unique multi-media experience that brought Gerrit van Honthorst’s 17th-century eponymous painting to life in a cutting-edge exhibition. The first of its kind at the MFA, the show immersed visitors in the history of the work through the use of video, extensive wall texts and labels, and maps.
Microsoft Corporation gave the MFA a software grant to establish a more robust computing platform for the Museum through a comprehensive package of software licenses and upgrades. The grant will have an impact on many aspects of our operations, providing a strong foundation for daily technology needs and future projects.
Further innovation came from Trustee Howard Cox, who funded initiatives to conduct strategic market research focused on retaining and growing the Museum’s membership base. These projects aim to gain a deeper understanding of the MFA’s various audience segments and develop programs that will have the greatest impact on visitation and membership.
An anonymous donor provided support for the Avenue of the Arts urban planning initiative.
In addition to establishing an endowment for the care and maintenance of the Japanese Garden, Nippon Television Network also provided funding for the renovation of the space, which included the installation of a new gate and modifications to the landscaping of the garden. The transformed Japanese Garden was unveiled in April 2015.
Paul Taylor & Adeline Gertrude Magrane Rothwell Philanthropic Fund, a Donor Advised Fund of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, Inc., provided additional support for the Bernard J. Rothwell School Bus Fund.
In the realm of new positions, the MFA received a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the position of Associate Conservator of Chinese Paintings, held by Hsin-Chen Tsai, a former Mellon Fellow at the Museum.
The Curatorial Research Associate position in the Art of the Americas Department, held by Taylor L. Poulin, was funded by the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts.
The Sherman Fairchild Foundation renewed its support of the Sherman Fairchild Conservation Fellowship, which will be in the area of Asian conservation.
The expansion of the Gallery Instructor Coordinator position, currently held by Julie Fentin and integral to the continued success of the Gallery Instructor Program, was made possible by a gift from the Estate of Roberta Ornstein.