Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) announced today that Becky Benaroya has bequeathed the collection that she and her late husband Jack Benaroya carefully assembled during their 70 years of marriage. The collection of 225 works includes Northwestern and international studio art glass along with important paintings and sculptures by renowned regional artists. The gift, announced on Mrs. Benaroya's 93rd birthday, includes a contribution for the construction of a new 7,390 square-foot gallery addition in which to present the collection, an endowment fund for its care, and funds for a dedicated curator. The contribution to support the gift totals nearly $14 million. TAM's expanding collection further establishes the Pacific Northwest as the nation's art glass epicenter.
The new wing will be designed by award-winning architect Tom Kundig of Seattle-based Olson Kundig and is projected to open in fall 2018. It will house 5,700 square feet of gallery space, in addition to 1,690 square feet for public facilities and support functions. Tom Kundig successfully completed TAM's Haub Family Galleries in November 2014.
"We're deeply honored and grateful for this incredible gift to Tacoma," said Stephanie Stebich, TAM Executive Director. "We are very pleased to celebrate Becky's generosity and this exemplary collection with a preview exhibition in October 2016, to give everyone a taste of what is to come when the new galleries open. For Becky to make this extraordinary gift to the public on her birthday is inspiring and we are forever grateful."
The Benaroya's gift includes 150 exceptional works in glass, bringing TAM's glass holdings to nearly 1,000 pieces and placing it among the most important studio art glass collections in the nation. It complements TAM's permanent retrospective of Dale Chihuly's works, Anne Gould Hauberg collection, and Paul Marioni studio glass collection. The works in the Benaroya collection represent "the best of the best of these artists," according to TAM's Chief Curator Rock Hushka, including eminent Northwest glass artists Sonja Blomdahl, Dale Chihuly, Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora C. Mace, Dante Marioni, Paul Marioni, Richard Marquis, Benjamin Moore, William Morris, Charles Parriott, Maxi Powers, Ginny Ruffner, Cappy Thompson, Toots Zynsky, and many more.
The Benaroyas also collected national and international glass artists, often with an association to the influential Pilchuck Glass School, including César Baldaccini, Howard Ben Tré, Kyohei Fujita, Ulrica Hydman-Vallien, Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová, Marvin Lipofsky, Raymond Martinez, Jay Musler, Seth Randal, Clifford Rainey, Julio Santos, Livio Seguso, Therman Statom, Lino Tagliapietra, and Bertil Vallien, among others. Mrs. Benaroya's personal passions include the international art deco glass by Daum and Lalique and fiber art by Olga de Omaral and Claire Zeisler.
Additionally, the Benaroya's gift includes significant paintings by key Northwest artists such as Leo Adams, Guy Anderson, Deborah Butterfield, Kenneth Callahan, Joseph Goldberg, Morris Graves, Paul Horiuchi, Jeffry Mitchell, Mark Tobey, and George Tsutakawa. "We look forward to sharing the full breadth of this gift with our visitors," added Hushka.
"My son Larry and I were very thoughtful in considering the best placement for the works of art that Jack and I collected. We approached TAM for many reasons; chief among them was the Museum's focus on Northwest art. We believe that our collection fits beautifully with TAM's holdings and mission. We also wanted to keep the collection together and in the Northwest," said Mrs. Benaroya. "Jack especially was passionate about the studio glass movement and we were early supporters. Finding the right home for our works is a very personal matter. This choice reflects and honors Jack's vision, and now sustains his legacy, to have these works on public view to inspire generations to come. It makes me very happy that he will be remembered in this way."
This transformative gift advances TAM's collection strategy of building a premier regional collection that tells the story of the Northwest artistic identity in all its richness and complexity. TAM also collects art from the broader Western region, with more than 300 works of western American art gifted by the Haub family along with $20 million in expansion and endowment funds in 2012.
Underscoring the benefit of the gift within the community, Dale and Leslie Chihuly said, "Our dear friends Jack and Becky Benaroya have long inspired all of us with their generous and loving support of the arts in the region. They have also been devoted benefactors of the Pilchuck Glass School. We are delighted that, after decades of careful and passionate collecting, Becky and the family have decided to gift this important body of work to the Tacoma Art Museum where it can be enjoyed by the public for years to come."
Stanislav Libenský (Czech, 1921-2002), Jaroslava Brychtová (Czech, born 1924), Green Eye of the Pyramid III, 1993-94. Mold-melted and cut glass, 33 × 40 × 8 inches. Tacoma Art Museum, Promised Gift of the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection. Photo © TAM, photo by Russell Johnson and Jeff Curtis; Paul Horiuchi(Japanese American, 1906-1999), Color Movement with Purpose, circa 1985-86. Collage on six panel screen. 71½ × 144 inches. Tacoma Art Museum, Promised Gift of the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection. Photo © TAM, photo by Russell Johnson and Jeff Curtis; Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941), Seaform Set, 1982-83. Blown glass, dimensions variable. Tacoma Art Museum, Promised Gift of the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection. Photo © TAM, photo by Russell Johnson and Jeff Curtis.
About Jack and Becky Benaroya
Rebecca (Becky) and Jack Benaroya have been major benefactors for cultural, educational, and medical organizations in the Pacific Northwest. They provided the lead gift to launch the Seattle Symphony's much-lauded performance venue that opened in 1998. They have also supported the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as well as many other hospitals, charities, and arts organizations.
Jack was a pioneering real-estate developer and community leader who built the Northwest's largest privately held commercial real-estate company that continues today under the leadership of their son Larry. He was a director of the Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle Chamber of Commerce, United Way of King County, Temple de Hirsch Sinai, Congregation Ezra Bessaroth, and the Stroum Jewish Community Center. Becky continues to be an active community leader and arts patron, having served on numerous boards including the Pilchuck Glass School, Kline Galland Home, and McCallum Theatre in Palm Springs. An avid bridge player, she volunteered for over 28 years mentoring first- through third-graders at Sunny Sands Elementary School in Palm Springs.
About Tacoma Art Museum
Celebrating 80 years, Tacoma Art Museum is an anchor in Tacoma's downtown with a mission of connecting people through art. TAM's collection contains more than 4,700 works, with an emphasis on the art and artists of the Northwest and broader Western region. The collection includes the largest retrospective museum collection of glass art by Tacoma native Dale Chihuly on permanent view; the most significant collection of studio art jewelry by Northwest artists; key holdings in 19th century European and 20th century American art; and one of the finest collections of Japanese woodblock prints on the West Coast. In 2012, TAM received a gift of more than 300 works of western American art from the Haub Family Collection, one of the premier such collections in the nation and the first major western American art museum collection in the Northwest. The Haub family also contributed $20 million for an endowment and expansion completed in 2014. TAM is located in the heart of Tacoma's vibrant Museum District of six museums that includes the Museum of Glass, a frequent collaborator.www.tacomaartmuseum.org
About Tom Kundig and Olson Kundig
Seattle-based architectural firm Olson Kundig's portfolio includes museums, commercial and mixed-use design, exhibit design, interior design, places of worship, and residences, often for art collectors. Tom Kundig is one of the most recognized architects in North America. He has received some of our nation's highest design awards, including a 2008 National Design Award in Architecture Design from the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum; a 2007 Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; and a total of 37 American Institute of Architects (AIA) awards. Olson Kundig received the 2009 National AIA Architecture Firm Award (as Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects) and has twice been named one of the Top Ten Most Innovative Companies in Architecture by Fast Company.
About Pilchuck Glass School
Pilchuck Glass School was founded in 1971 by glass artist Dale Chihuly and patrons Anne Gould Hauberg and John H. Hauberg. Pilchuck has been a primary force in the evolution of glass as a means of artistic expression. Over the past 45 years, thousands of artists from across the nation and around the world (49 states and 70 countries) have come to Pilchuck to teach, to learn, to test new ideas and to expand their artistic and creative horizons in the company of others with diverse perspectives and artistic modes. Pilchuck's artistic and educational programs take place primarily on a 60-acre wooded campus 50 miles north of Seattle. By creating an environment with an emphasis on glass, access to resources, and an ever-expanding international community of artists, Pilchuck has become among the largest, most comprehensive educational centers in the world for artists working with glass.