IU Art Museum meets Mellon Foundation challenge, establishes $1.5 million endowment

Nov. 12, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Art Museum has raised $1 million to match a $500,000 challenge grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, fully endowing its senior academic officer position.

The museum began its fundraising efforts in May 2012 after learning it had received the challenge grant. Anthony J. Moravec, founder of Columbus-based Blairex Laboratories and chair of the museum's national advisory board, donated the initial $500,000 needed to meet the 1:1 challenge grant. The museum raised an additional $500,000 through private donations, and the Office of the Provost committed to a $25,000 annual contribution.

"This substantial endowment will help ensure that the IU Art Museum remains at the forefront of art education by making a strong commitment to the administration of its already robust collections and further strengthening of its innovative programming," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. "We are deeply appreciative to the Mellon Foundation and Tony Moravec for their generosity and their faith in the university's ambitious arts mission, as well as to all those who helped the museum match their original gifts."

"During my tenure as director here at the IU Art Museum, my major focus has been outreach to students both at the university and K-12 levels," museum director Adelheid "Heidi" Gealt said. "To me, this endowed position represents the fulfillment of a decades-long dream to provide meaningful and dedicated academic outreach, which wouldn't be possible without the Mellon endowment and generous donations from Tony Moravec and others. I believe we’ve made real history here at Indiana University, and I consider this achievement one of the highlights of my professional career."

The endowment allows the IU Art Museum to continue to provide future generations of students with the types of innovative museum-based courses, interdisciplinary academic programs and curriculum-structured tours that have been pioneered at the museum since the late 1980s, when Gealt became director and brought Ed Maxedon aboard as curator of education. Maxedon developed the concept of gallery tours designed in tandem with IU faculty members to enrich specific class curricula. These ongoing gallery collaborations and other newly developed courses and programs have been supported by the Mellon Foundation since 2009, when the senior academic officer position was created with funding from a Mellon pilot grant.

Jennifer Wagelie will take the title of Andrew W. Mellon and Anthony J. Moravec Senior Academic Officer. Wagelie, who holds a doctoral degree in art history, previously worked with the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History and the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, before coming to Bloomington in 2011 to serve as the museum’s senior academic officer. She will continue to focus on maintaining established courses and programs while also developing new ways to engage students and faculty with the museum's collections and resources.

"We are extraordinarily grateful to the Mellon Foundation, Tony Moravec and our other donors for strengthening student and faculty engagement with the IU Art Museum's collections through this endowment," IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel said. "Their commitment to excellent art education will continue to support far-reaching programs that bring these outstanding collections prominently into our research and curricula. I am delighted to help support the position, and I congratulate Jennifer Wagelie on her new title." 

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Created in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation makes grants in five core program areas: higher education and scholarship; scholarly communications and information technology; art history, conservation and museums; performing arts; and conservation and the environment.

About the IU Art Museum
Since its establishment in 1941, the IU Art Museum has grown from a small university teaching collection into one of the foremost university art museums in the country. Today, the IU Art Museum's internationally acclaimed collections, as varied as ancient gold jewelry, African masks, and paintings by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, include more than 40,000 objects representing nearly every art-producing culture throughout history.