updated: 5/18/2007 6:11:20 AM

Simon's Give Indianapolis Museum of Art $10 Million Gift

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

The Indianapolis Museum of Art says it has received a $10 million gift from Melvin and Bren Simon to endow the museum's director and chief executive officer. The gift is the largest ever given to the museum to underwrite the compensation for the museum's top executive. Proceeds from the funds will also be used to support acquisitions, exhibitions and professional development. The IMA’s current endowment is $367 million and the Simon's gift marks the fifth significant endowment gift to the museum in the past year.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

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Press Release

Indianapolis, May 18, 2007—The Indianapolis Museum of Art today announced that it has received a $10 million gift from philanthropists and longtime IMA supporters Melvin and Bren Simon to endow the Museum’s director and CEO. The Simon’s gift will establish a permanent endowment fund and is the largest ever given to an art museum to underwrite the compensation of the Museum’s top executive. Proceeds from the fund beyond those required to underwrite the position will support acquisitions, exhibitions, programs and professional development. In recognition of their gift, the IMA will refer to its chief executive as the Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO.

“A strong endowment is the bedrock that gives the Indianapolis Museum of Art the freedom to think and act in service of artistic innovation, in perpetuity,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, the Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO of the IMA. “Through this tremendous gift, the Simons have once again demonstrated their farsighted support for the arts, the city and the region. I am honored to serve as the Museum’s first incumbent in this endowed position.”

The $10 million will help to fuel the recruitment and retention of future leadership for the IMA––functions that are critical to the Museum’s long-term success. The donation is also a major step forward in the IMA’s strategic goal to endow several key departmental positions to keep the Museum at the leading edge in terms of its exhibitions, collections, educational programs and overall operations.

The Simon’s gift will be added to the IMA’s current endowment of $367 million and marks the fifth significant endowment gift to the Museum in the past year, following $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.

Melvin and Bren Simon are active philanthropists and civic leaders and who support an array of cultural and social organizations in Indianapolis and nationwide. Mel Simon is Co-Chairman of Simon Property Group, the nation’s largest owner of shopping malls with more than 250 properties in 37 states as well as properties in Europe and Canada. Mel and Bren are co-founders of the Mel and Bren Simon Charitable Trust, which supports organizations in the arts, health care and social services, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The Simons were honored in 1998 as “Man and Woman of the Year” by the Anti-Defamation League and received the 2004 Living Legend Award of the Indiana Historical Society for their significant contributions to the State of Indiana. The Simons are also co-owners of the Indiana Pacers basketball team.

“Mel and I are very pleased to help insure that the IMA can continue to attract the best talent in the art museum field,” stated Bren Simon. “We hope our gift will help shine a national spotlight on our city’s arts and cultural offerings just as much as our rich traditions in sports.”

The Simons have long supported the IMA. They have been members of the IMA’s annual giving club at the highest level since 1985, and Bren Simon is currently an IMA Trustee and a member of the Museum’s Collections Committee. In addition to this gift, the Family has supported multiple initiatives at the IMA, including the construction of the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, which will open in 2009.

About the IMA

Encompassing 152 acres of gardens and grounds, the IMA connects visitors to its unique and expansive view of art with its Indianapolis Museum of Art, the future Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park and Oldfields–Lilly House & Gardens. The Indianapolis Museum of Art is the fifth largest encyclopedic art museum in the United States and features significant collections of African, American, Asian, European, contemporary and decorative art, including paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings and photographs, textiles and costumes.

The IMA has recently completed a $74 million expansion project that features three new wings, 50 percent more gallery space, expanded educational spaces, two new restaurants by Wolfgang Puck Catering and an enhanced museum store. The construction added 164,000 square feet to the Museum and included a renovation of 90,000 square feet of existing space.

Source: Indianapolis Museum of Art

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