American Folk Art Museum Gala Raises Over $1 Million

Guests at the American Folk Art Museum Gala. Photo: Courtesy Guest of a Guest.

Thursday night’s fundraiser brought in over $1 million in donations for the American Folk Art Museum, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The museum has struggled with its finances in recent years after defaulting on the nearly $32 million loan borrowed to pay for a new West 53rd Street building that it was eventually forced to sell to MoMA in 2011.

Now back in its original 2 Lincoln Center home, the museum has been doing better (although the old building will be demolished to make way for MoMA’s planned expansion) and was recently the recipient of a $1.6 million grant from the Henry Luce Foundation as part of its funding for “Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum,” which will be on tour through the end of 2016.

The gala was held in honor of Joyce Cowin, whose late husband, Daniel, was a trustee of the museum for more than two decades; Richard Walker, who was credited as doubling the gala’s attendance to 513 people; and Margaret Boles Fitzgerald, who serves as chairwoman of the Luce Foundation’s board.

“The feeling around the museum is we are a museum that is worthy of support, and it coalesced into tonight,” said Monty Blanchard, president of the museum’s board of trustees.

The Journal reports that attendees of the gala included Morrison Heckscher, a curator emeritus in the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Nancy Druckman, the director of Sotheby’s American folk art department; Folk Art Museum director Anne-Imelda Radice, and hundreds of dedicated collectors.


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