SFMOMA Increases Campaign Goal by 11 Percent, with Focus on Education, Digital Engagement, and Public Art
Museum Also Announces $5 Million Challenge Grant from Anonymous Donor to Provide Free Admission for Visitors Ages 18 and Under
May 8, 2013
SFMOMA Expansion View from Yerba Buena; image courtesy MIR and Snøhetta
May 8, 2013 – With 89 percent of the capital campaign goal raised three years ahead of the opening of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)’s expanded home, and with 100 percent of the museum’s Board of Trustees supporting the campaign, SFMOMA’s Board has raised the capital campaign goal to $610 million from $555 million, an increase of 11 percent.
The additional funds will enable SFMOMA to pursue three goals: to become a national leader in digital engagement; to pursue an expanded art commissioning program in the museum’s public spaces; and to increase accessibility to the museum, particularly for school-age children. As part of this new campaign goal, the museum also announced a $5 million challenge grant from an anonymous donor, with the aim of creating a $10 million endowed fund that would enable SFMOMA to offer free admission to all visitors ages 18 and under.
“We are deeply encouraged by and thankful for the tremendous support we’ve already received for our vision of a transformed SFMOMA—a forward-facing institution that will further enrich the cultural and educational ecologies of San Francisco and the region,” said SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra. “We view this community enthusiasm as a testament to the fact that SFMOMA is committing to the potential of the city and region. The incredible response to the capital campaign among museum leadership and friends spurred us to increase the campaign goal so we can offer even better art experiences to even more people when we reopen in 2016.”
SFMOMA began its capital campaign in 2009, with the goal of increasing the museum’s space for the presentation and study of art, developing a more robust set of programs and community initiatives, and growing the museum’s endowment. In 2009 the museum also announced that the Fisher family would share its renowned collection of contemporary art with the public through a century-long agreement and presentation of the collection at SFMOMA. In 2010 SFMOMA announced the selection of architecture firm Snøhetta as its design partner and in 2011 released the conceptual design for its new building. The formal groundbreaking for the project will take place on May 29, 2013, and completion is projected in early 2016. In addition to increasing the museum’s space, art and educational programming, and accessibility to the public, SFMOMA’s capital campaign is also ensuring the museum’s future stability by more than tripling the size of its current $100 million endowment to a total of $320 million.
“One of the main goals of the museum leadership and the Board is to work with the community throughout the expansion period to make sure that the new museum is accessible to all,” noted Charles R. Schwab, chairman of the SFMOMA Board of Trustees. “The increase in the capital campaign goal is a reflection of our belief that we can develop even better access and education programs to share our passion for art with the San Francisco and Bay Area community for generations to come. We hope that people from across the community continue to join in our campaign and thus ensure that SFMOMA is open to everyone and remains a leader in collections and exhibitions, an innovator in arts education, and a pioneer in digital interpretation.”
Central to SFMOMA’s expansion program is growing opportunities for all audiences to visit the museum—and doing so in a manner that is financially sustainable over time. The creation of a $10 million endowed fund to offer free admission to all visitors ages 18 and under—spurred by a $5 million challenge grant from an anonymous donor—will expand the museum’s current policy of providing free admission to visitors ages 12 and under. This initiative will specifically help SFMOMA engage students from underserved public schools throughout the region.
Extending free admission to visitors ages 18 and under is the final component in the museum’s $50 million investment in education and access as part of its expansion. This initiative began in 2012 with a lead gift from Lisa and John Pritzker to enable SFMOMA to triple the volume of school visitors the museum currently serves, from 18,000 to 55,000 annually in 2016.
Other new components of SFMOMA’s commitment to education, young people, and families include:
“The city of San Francisco looks forward to welcoming a transformed SFMOMA that will serve as an even greater resource to all who live, work, and visit the San Francisco Bay Area region,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “We appreciate the tremendous generosity demonstrated so far, and are particularly excited by the plans for the next phase of the museum’s capital campaign, especially providing free admission to all young people and increasing free access to art for the whole community.”
The museum is currently exploring ways to further broaden accessibility for school-age visitors, such as providing free transportation to the museum from public schools and expanding after-school programming. Building upon a decade of industry leadership in the area of digital teaching resources, SFMOMA will also pioneer digital content strategies and resources with and for teachers.
Expanding Digital Engagement
As part of its commitment to improving the overall visitor experience, SFMOMA is also pursuing new digital initiatives that specifically aim to offer more personalized digital engagement and more interactive possibilities for exploring the museum’s permanent collection. In order to do this, the museum is currently exploring how to maximize the use of real-time location services and on-demand content delivery. SFMOMA is also striving to develop a digital engagement model that will enhance the museum experience while developing new technologies. Throughout the expansion period, SFMOMA will use its off-site programming as an opportunity to prototype various digital strategies for exploring and sharing art.
“Expanding digital engagement is an integral part of the museum’s mission of making the art of our time a vital and meaningful part of public life,” said Chad Coerver, chief content officer at SFMOMA. “Our aim is to provide digital tools and experiences that bring the museum’s collection to life in the eyes of visitors, and to create as many digital methods as possible for exploring the collection.”
Ongoing Art Commissioning Program
SFMOMA today also announced that, as part of the new capital campaign goal, the museum is seeking to endow an expanded contemporary art commissioning program for the public spaces of the museum, including the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Atrium and the Howard Street Gallery. SFMOMA has commissioned artists such as Sol LeWitt and Bill Fontana to create artworks specifically for public spaces of the museum in the past, and in 2009 began regularly commissioning artworks for the Haas Atrium, starting with Kerry James Marshall, who worked with local painters to create two murals for the museum. Building on the success of these commissions, SFMOMA will expand the commissioning program to additional public spaces in the museum’s new building, providing more opportunities for the whole community to connect with art for free.
SFMOMA holds one of the world’s foremost collections of the art of our time, and the leading collection of modern and contemporary art on the West Coast. Concurrent with the capital campaign, the museum is also expanding its permanent collection, which forms the foundation of the museum’s exhibition programming. In February 2009 SFMOMA launched a multiyear campaign to further strengthen the collection, which has more than doubled in size to over 29,000 works since the museum moved to its current home in 1995. In February 2011 the museum announced that it had received 195 promised gifts of art from nine leading Bay Area collectors. These promised gifts encompass major works by artists including Diane Arbus, Joseph Beuys, Robert Gober, Eva Hesse, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Bruce Nauman, Jackson Pollock, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, and David Smith. And in November of 2012 SFMOMA announced pledged gifts to the campaign of 473 photographs, deepening the museum’s renowned holdings in 20th-century American and Japanese photography. These and other works promised or pledged to the collections campaign will be on view in the expanded museum.