Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET ANNOUNCES MILLION-DOLLAR GIFT FROM FRIDAY FOUNDATION, TO ENDOWMENT McCaw Hall

Article Pixel

Jane Lang Davis New Works Fund established to seed creation of new works.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET ANNOUNCES MILLION-DOLLAR GIFT FROM FRIDAY FOUNDATION, TO ENDOWMENT McCaw Hall

10/20/20, SEATTLE, WA - Pacific Northwest Ballet is honored to announce the receipt of a million-dollar gift from the Friday Foundation. With this gift - designated to the Pacific Northwest Ballet Foundation - PNB has created a new endowment, the Jane Lang Davis New Works Fund. Annual income from the invested fund will be used in perpetuity to provide support for one new ballet each season, and/or support the full breadth of PNB's New Works initiative, including workshops for emerging artists.

PNB established the Pacific Northwest Ballet Foundation in 1998 to receive endowment gifts and bequests. PNB Foundation is a separate entity and is governed by its own board. "The Pacific Northwest Foundation is honored to receive this transformational gift from the Friday Foundation establishing the Jane Lang Davis New Works Fund," said Peter A. Horvitz, Chairman of the PNB Foundation Board of Trustees. "Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis loved Seattle and their philanthropy enriched the cultural life of our city for decades. Jane Lang Davis loved ballet and through her passion and determination Pacific Northwest Ballet was born. Jane was an enthusiastic supporter of PNB throughout her life and had a particular love for new works. New choreography is the lifeblood of ballet so it is of great importance that the Friday Foundation's generous gift has endowed the Jane Lang Davis New Works Fund and that beginning this season, and for many years to come, the Jane Lang Davis New Works will be performed by PNB on the McCaw Hall stage, celebrating the legacy of Jane Lang Davis and her devotion to Seattle and her beloved Pacific Northwest Ballet."

"Jane Lang Davis loved ballet," said Peter Boal, PNB's Artistic Director. "Not long after her passing, her daughter Lyn delivered the most delightful childhood photos of Jane in a fantastic array of ballet costumes with endless elegant legs and dramatic blue eyes aimed squarely at the camera lens. Jane used to tell me she was discouraged from dancing because she was too tall. And yet Jane did more for the ballet here in Seattle than almost anyone else. Tired of importing ballet troupes to our city, Jane became a tenacious and at times forceful advocate for the formation of our own company under the auspices of Seattle Opera. She held a clear vision for the future. She served on the Board for four decades and remained a lifelong friend, fundraiser and proponent of innovation. When PNB needed Jane's support, she was always there for us.

"These are dire times for the ballet," continued Mr. Boal. "As we cautiously plan our future and question the cost of commissioning new ballets, we will know new work is still possible because of this grant. Through this legacy gift of the Friday Foundation, Jane and Richard Lang continue to give by helping to create new choreography. Because of the Friday Foundation's generosity, Pacific Northwest Ballet will be able to fund an original new work every season. These opportunities will be offered to rising talents and underrepresented voices. When I choose that commission, I will recall Jane's willingness to embrace risk and innovation in order to bring inspired art and dance into our lives."

The first dance artist to benefit from this gift will be choreographer Penny Saunders, whose debut work for PNB will be financed in part by the new fund, with additional support provided by a gift from Seattle dance philanthropist Glenn Kawasaki. The as-yet-untitled ballet will have its world premiere November 12 during PNB's 2020-2021 digital season.

Jane Lang Davis (1920-2017) was instrumental in the formation of Pacific Northwest Ballet as a founding member of the organization, and remained a life-long supporter, valued trustee, and indefatigable cheerleader for the company. Added her longtime friend, PNB Trustee and Past Board Chair Susan Brotman, "What a thrill to receive this wonderful gift from the Friday Foundation. Jane loved PNB and was an enthusiastic supporter. She never missed a performance or a fundraising event. When the Phelps Center [PNB's home at Seattle Center] was built she was excited to name the Jane Davis Board Room. It made her laugh to think of the Board meeting in 'her room.' Not only was Jane generous, she was great fun. She added a spark to the entire organization and inspired us all. How wonderful to have her name on a new work each season. Thank you, Jane, we will remember you and your dazzling smile."

The Friday Foundation is dedicated to supporting arts organizations following the passion and philanthropy of Jane Lang Davis and Richard E. Lang during their lifetimes. The Langs loved Seattle: Their legacy as collectors is surpassed only by their commitment to Seattle's performing and visual arts, which they considered fundamental to the health and growth of the community at large. For more information, visit FridayFoundationArts.org.

Pacific Northwest Ballet's New Works Initiative, launched in 2005 during Artistic Director Peter

Boal's first season, curates a balance of traditional and contemporary choreography with new commissions and acquisitions created by rising stars and world renowned choreographers. PNB has added over 100 world and PNB premieres since the inception of the New Works Initiative. Commissioned choreographers have included Jessica Lang, Justin Peck, Crystal Pite, Alexei Ratmansky, Twyla Tharp, Christopher Wheeldon, and Alejandro Cerrudo. The New Works Initiative serves several purposes: building PNB's repertory; expanding a body of work that positions PNB at the forefront of ballet, nationally and internationally; providing dancers, musicians, and designers the opportunity to create new work; and offering audiences dynamic and provocative programs that challenge, engage, and surprise them.

About the Pacific Northwest Ballet Foundation: To provide a legacy for generations to come, PNB established the Pacific Northwest Ballet Foundation in 1998 to receive endowment gifts and bequests. PNB Foundation is a separate entity and is governed by its own board. PNB's Endowment serves as an investment in the future, providing ongoing financial security while allowing PNB to create engaging repertories, attract and retain the best artists, and pursue education and outreach initiatives with confidence. The principal of the fund is carefully invested, while a portion of the income generated supports PNB's artistic and educational programs on an annual basis. Gifts to PNB's Endowment support PNB in perpetuity and provide a long-term and predictable source of support, as well as an enduring tribute to donors' generosity. For more information, visit PNB.org/support or contact Giving@PNB.org.

Penny Saunders graduated from the Harid Conservatory in 1995 and began her professional career with The American Repertory Ballet under the direction of Septime Webre. She went on to dance with Ballet Arizona, MOMIX Dance Theater, Cedar Lake Ensemble and in 2004 she joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. In 2011, Saunders won the International Commissioning Project which launched her choreographic career, creating pieces for Hubbard Streets' main and second company, Cincinnati Ballet, The Royal New Zealand Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Whim W'Him, BalletX, Tulsa Ballet 2, Ballet Idaho, SFDanceworks, SALT Contemporary Dance, Neos Dance Theater, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Owen Cox Dance Group, among others. Saunders has received support from The New York City Ballet Choreographic Commissions Initiative, participated in The National Choreographers Initiative and was the recipient of the 2016 Princess Grace Choreographic Fellowship.

# # #

Pacific Northwest Ballet's 2020-2021 digital season is proudly sponsored by Browne Family Vineyards, ArtsFund, Microsoft, and Peter & Peggy Horvitz. Special thanks also to 4Culture, National Endowment for the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, and The Wallace Foundation.



Related Articles View More Dance Stories

From This Author Sondra Forsyth