Monday, August 13, 2007

IMA’s Endowment Climbs to More Than $379 Million

From IMA press release:

The Indianapolis Museum of Art today announced that it has received a $2.2 million gift from philanthropist Ruth Lilly to endow the IMA’s director of horticulture, a position held by Mark Zelonis since 1997. In recognition of the gift, the IMA will refer to this position as the Ruth Lilly Director of Oldfields & Horticulture.

I have always enjoyed the gardens and grounds at the IMA. They're simply beautiful and make for a nice destination to take a walk or ride your bike. I think it is wonderful that this endowment will secure that the director of horticulture position will continue to inspire quality for years to come. While I do understand the need to extend our thanks to the philanthropist and patrons that support the arts, I am a little nervous about such trends as the attaching of donor names to job titles. This endowment will be the second at the IMA with such titles, with Maxwell L. Anderson the Melvin and Bren Simon Director and CEO, and now Mark Zelonis the Ruth Lilly Director of Oldfields & Horticulture. Imagine of this trend continues to include more and more positions. Where will it stop. Will all those security guards one day have over elaborate title? I have enough problems remembering names that such titles will now make it twice as dificult. Crazy. I should probably appologize for this little rant, I do admire all the patrons of the arts out there and do agree that we need to offer our thanks in some way, it's just that this particular way seems a bit much.

Now back on topic. Here is more from the IMA's press release:
Zelonis is responsible for the management, maintenance and development of the IMA’s 152 acres of gardens and grounds, with special emphasis on the 26-acre historic property of Oldfields, the former estate of the Josiah K. Lilly Jr., grandson of Colonel Eli Lilly, founder of Eli Lilly & Company. In 2002, the IMA
completed the restoration of Oldfields–Lilly House & Gardens as the first phase of the IMA’s three-part, $220-million institutional expansion. At the center of Oldfields is the three-story Lilly House, a French-chateau-style mansion restored to the 1930s time period of the Lilly family occupancy. The estate also includes a formal garden, a tree-lined allée with border gardens, and a one-acre hillside ravine garden.

“As a restored Country Place era estate, Oldfields adds another dimension to the range of high-quality art experiences offered by the IMA,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, the Melvin and Bren Simon Director and CEO. “Ruth Lilly has demonstrated time and time again her support of the arts, her love of the community and her commitment to preserving her family’s history and legacy for generations to come.”

Lilly’s gift marks the second donation that has underwritten a key position at the IMA. In May, the IMA announced that it had received a $10 million endowment gift from Melvin and Bren Simon to underwrite the Museum’s director and CEO. Currently, Lilly’s gift brings the IMA’s endowment to more than $379 and marks the sixth significant endowment gift to the Museum in the past year, following the Simon gift of $10 million; $2.5 million from the Efroymson Fund for the contemporary art program; $11 million for the IMA’s future Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park; and $3.2 million in estate gifts. The IMA’s endowment—a vital resource dedicated to supporting the museum’s fiscal health and growth in perpetuity–is among the largest of the nation’s art museums.

In addition to managing the horticulture division, Zelonis is a project director for the IMA’s Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, located on 100 acres of untamed woodlands, wetlands, meadow and a 35-acre lake adjacent to the Museum. Set to open in 2009, the Park will be one of the largest museum contemporary sculpture parks in the country and the only one to feature ongoing site-specific commissions in a range of media that explore and respond to the varied environments of the Park from artists at all stages of their careers. Zelonis and his staff will be responsible for managing the Park’s existing landscape; working with the landscape architects in creating and installing new landscape elements; assisting with the installation of contemporary art works; and presenting nature and gardening programs.

15 Responses to “IMA’s Endowment Climbs to More Than $379 Million”

Anonymous said...
August 15, 2007 at 8:32 AM

All of this money and yet they can't get a decent aquisition.

Anonymous said...
August 17, 2007 at 7:19 PM

Yeah, I wish they had more Picasso's. He was great, really.

Anonymous said...
August 18, 2007 at 12:49 PM

lots of money and making one of the largest (in acres) sculpture park. Big deal without a great contempory collection.

Anonymous said...
August 18, 2007 at 2:17 PM

The IMA has added many wonderful pieces in recent years. The Asian collection has expanded impressively. The Neo-Impressionist collection has added paintings that are masterpieces in recent years. The Pissaro acquisition The House of the Deaf Woman and the Belfry at Eragny was shown with La Grande Jatte by Seurat at its public showing if I understand correctly. The collection of the Pont-Avon school was a major addition and includes three paintings by Gauguin. I hope the collection continues to expand in many ways. The IMA has many masterpiece paintings. Unfortunately, they are well regarded more to art critics than the general public. I think it is difficult to realize that building a great collection takes decades of hard work by curators. The IMA has tremendously talented curators and is improving by leaps and bounds. Hopefully a few more paintings will be added that really draw in the attention of the general public.

Anonymous said...
August 18, 2007 at 2:57 PM

"The IMA has tremendously talented curators and is improving by leaps and bounds."

Was this written by one of them? Lol.

Anonymous said...
August 18, 2007 at 5:13 PM

Maybe you can go rip a famous painting off the wall at another institution and bring it to the IMA if you are so smart ,and it means so much to your deluded sense of what is important in building a collection. The IMA cannot put the Mona Lisa in the collection, or the Venus De Milo. They cannot loot another countries art collection and bring Botticelli's Rite of Spring to Indianapolis. The IMA no longer has any patrons with the equvalent wealth of William Gates or Steve Balmer, who are both very active collectors in bidding for desirable works. Rothko's now sell for 70 million. The IMA must build from what becomes available to them through gifts, auctions and art galleries and dealers. Outside of Indiana, the IMA has received rave reviews for snapping up pieces and collections as it is a nationally respected institution. The IMA has highly regarded paintings by many great artists. Perhaps they should put them on permanent loan to museums in Paris, London,Chicago, New York and LA so that you could visit them there.

Anonymous said...
August 18, 2007 at 5:27 PM

Check out the new additions that are being added to the collection. The art and nature park will add several contemporary works by many desirable living artists. The art blog press in Seattle was quite envious of the artist chosen here.

lirio said...
August 19, 2007 at 9:29 AM

Ha! Anon Aug 18, 5:13pm....too funny! The grass is always greener.....

Anonymous said...
August 19, 2007 at 8:04 PM

Yikes, is this place getting over run by IMA homers (employees?)

Anonymous said...
August 20, 2007 at 10:05 AM

I suppose we should mindlessly tear down all local institutions of merit and wish we lived in a greater cultural area like the East Coast, how Hoosier. You ought to really engage yourself in what is really going on at an institution before criticizing it so willingly. Perhaps become a member and then maybe join a society. The IMA is putting on original shows for contemporary artists and bringing in works from many contemporary artists. What are you doing to improve the cultural life besides posing as an internet bohemian.

Anonymous said...
August 22, 2007 at 12:10 AM

Hey, I'm not the anon who started this. Just the one taking on all the ima homers.

Scott said...
August 22, 2007 at 12:07 PM

We welcome IMA homers, ex-IMA homers, non-homers and never wanted to be a homers. Diversity of opinions is what makes for interesting dialogue and through that, perhaps each side will see themselves in a different light.

I for one agree that the IMA collection needs to continue its growth (this goes for all arts institutions) but I also remember what I thought of the IMA's contemporary collection 10+ years ago. I feel vast strides have been made in such a short period and expect great things from the current team in place at the IMA. Good job.

Anonymous said...
August 22, 2007 at 8:39 PM

Tear down all the art institutes
and give the money to the artist.
So much money gets wasted before the artist ever sees any.

I know it's a bad Idea

Anonymous said...
September 5, 2007 at 3:47 PM

Think about your comment.....tear down all the art institutes..? I second that as a bad idea.

So much money is wasted on the "institutes", so that desirable living and non-living artists can gain national and international recognition, that increases their (so to speak) monetary value of their body of work. Don't think of the "institutes" as public enemy #1 in the artworld, its too easy to place blame on someone else...

Without well known and unknown galleries, museums, and institutes, where does that leave the artist?

Anonymous said...
September 6, 2007 at 9:34 PM

comment to 9 5 07 3:47

Let their peers decide
not institutions
Art is not about the money
but artist need support
and that support leaves the artist to create

thank you

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