Baltimore, MD—March 3, 2015—Ellen N. Bernard, president of the Board of Trustees of the Walters Art Museum, announced today the successful completion of its $30 million Sharing the Gift fundraising campaign.  The campaign, which was launched by Walters Trustees in 2008, raised funds for endowment and operations to ensure the strongest possible foundation for the museum’s future. 

Highlights include support for two endowed positions in the Education department and innovative early childhood and teacher training programs; new departments for the Arts of the Ancient Americas and Conservation Science; an exhibition endowment fund for scholarly research and publications, established in honor of former Walters’ director Gary Vikan; and two post-doctoral curatorial fellowships.

In addition, the Walters Board has designated $5 million of unrestricted funds to name the Directorship of the Walters in honor of Campaign Chair Andrea B. Laporte and in memory of her husband, Jack.  Julia Marciari-Alexander, who has been executive director since April 2013, will be the first to hold the title of Andrea B. and John H. Laporte Director of the Walters Art Museum. 

“Andie is dedicated to the mission of the Walters, and her support over more than a decade is inspiring to us all,” Marciari-Alexander said. “I am extremely proud to become the first Andrea B. and John H. Laporte Director of the Walters Art Museum.”

Revenue from endowment makes up a third of the Walters’ annual operating budget.   The Walters’ endowment stood at $55 million in December 2008 at the height of the economic downturn. Through generous contributions to the Sharing the Gift Campaign, coupled with market growth and careful financial management, the Museum has grown its endowment to $118.5 million as of December 2014—a 115 percent increase.

More than 125 donors gave to the Campaign including Walters Trustees and members, as well as individuals, corporations, and foundations.  Support included generous challenge grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

The Sharing the Gift Campaign will have a significant effect on many visible areas of the Museum’s service, as well as supporting less-visible operating costs.

The Ruth T. Rauch Early Childhood Program Fund will support the museum’s work in school-readiness, using the collections with at-risk Baltimore pre-schoolers and their caregivers.  The Gladys Winter Teacher Training Fund, established through bequest, supports integrating art from the Walters into the classroom, providing dozens of children with enrichment for every teacher that participates in training workshops.  The endowed education positions–the Ruth R. Marder Director of Education and Public Programs and Manager of School Programs–were funded through a challenge grant from the NEH and generous matching gifts.

Because of generous gifts of art from John G. Bourne, Atlantic Art Partners and others, the Walters will have a new department for the Arts of the Ancient Americas.  It has been supported with an endowment gift from the Ziff family and promised gifts to support a collection curator, conservator, display, public programming and acquisitions.  The new Department of Conservation Science will place the Walters among the leading museums in this field.  The two new post-doctoral curatorial fellowships will ensure that promising young scholars bring their knowledge and research to the public in new ways.

“Philanthropist and founder Henry Walters set aside a quarter of his fortune to create an endowment for the museum,” said Trustee Emerita Andrea B. Laporte, chair of the Sharing the Gift Campaign and former board chair. “More than 80 years later, the gifts of today’s generous donors join his and live on, encouraging those who contribute their annual support to the museum.”

About the Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum is located in downtown Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon Cultural District at North Charles and Centre Streets. General admission to the museum is always free.  At the time of his death in 1931, museum founder Henry Walters left his entire collection of art – including a legendary collection of illuminated medieval manuscripts that is a national treasure – to the city of Baltimore. Its collection includes ancient art, medieval art and manuscripts, decorative objects, Asian art and Old Master and 19th century paintings.  Wyndham Baltimore Peabody Court is the official hotel of the Walters Art Museum.