Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
$76.3 Million raised
Where Asia Meets America
The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery together form Freer|Sackler, the Smithsonian’s museums of Asian art. The museums hold and care for world-class collections of Asian and American art and promote understanding and appreciation across cultures.
Freer|Sackler achieved an important milestone during the Smithsonian Campaign, becoming the first Smithsonian museum to fully digitize its collection of about 40,000 objects.
Campaign gifts endowed the museums’ directorship and seven curatorial and conservation positions, including curators of Chinese and Islamic art. Gifts from Elizabeth Ridout, the Mary Griggs Burke Foundation and the Mitsubishi Corporation reinvigorated the museums’ Japanese art program, providing an endowment and support for exhibitions, research and conservation. Other significant gifts included multi-year commitments from the Robert H.N. Ho Foundation and the Japan Foundation.
A major Freer|Sackler exhibition on archaeological finds from the Arabian Peninsula’s ancient trade routes—Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—was made possible with support from ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco.
With his first-ever gift to the Smithsonian, Jahangir Amuzegar, an international economist and former minister of finance and commerce for the government of pre-revolution Iran, donated $1 million to endow the museums’ annual Nowruz (Persian New Year) celebration and a program in contemporary Iranian art.
The Freer and the Sackler bring the art and culture of more than half the world’s population to the nation’s capital and across the globe. In this age of the “pivot to Asia,” the need to understand Asian history and culture has never been greater.
As a nation, we have become more diverse. Today, our charge is not only to explain Asia to the American public, but to inspire curiosity, understanding and respect, nationally and globally. Your gifts to the Smithsonian Campaign will provide the funds to allow us to fulfill our mission.
Since their founding in 1923 and 1987 respectively, the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery have been extraordinary cultural resources for the nation and the world. They have helped successive generations develop a keen appreciation of Asian art and culture, and contributed scholarship, which has advanced the field worldwide.
Now, the Freer and Sackler Galleries are committed equally to preserve and build their collections, to advance understanding and to provide an inspiring environment in which to appreciate art.
Join us in making this journey into Asian art joyous and rewarding.
- Julian RabyThe Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art
Defining the Masters of Art
Scholars of Chinese Art
The Freer and Sackler Galleries’ extensive collection of Chinese art spans Neolithic to contemporary times. The collection is particularly rich with bronze vessels, ceremonial jades, calligraphy, early Buddhist sculpture and painting.
Investments to endow curators and a conservator of Chinese art will ensure that the museums continue to lead the world in Chinese art scholarship. They also will help advance understanding of one of the world’s most vivid cultures.
Endowment for an American Art Curator
The Freer has the world’s largest collection of works by James McNeill Whistler, including the iconic Peacock Room. Whistler’s art is complemented by the collection of American artists from the Aesthetic Movement in the late 19th century.
Charles Lang Freer left his artwork to the Smithsonian more than a century ago to encourage the appreciation of world cultures, some of which depict the influences of both East and West. That undertaking is just as important today.
Gifts through the Smithsonian Campaign to endow a curator of American art will ensure the highest level of leadership for this important collection for generations to come.
Endowment for Contemporary Asian Art
The Sackler is uniquely positioned to present contemporary work by Asian artists in dialogue with the traditional arts of Asia. The Sackler organized the first major museum exhibition in the United States of a contemporary Chinese artist, Xu Bing.
An investment in this cross-cultural program will put the museum at the forefront of nurturing global collaborations in contemporary Asian art.
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
is raising $55 Million of the Smithsonian Campaign’s overall $1.5 billion goal.
Chinese Curators and Conservator
Through the Smithsonian Campaign, we seek funding for two curatorial positions and a conservator of Chinese Art. A gift of $3 million funds a curator, while a gift of $1.75 million funds a conservator.
Endowment for an American Art curator
Our goal is to create an endowment of $3 million for a curator of American art.
Endowment for Contemporary Asian Art
We seek $4 million to endow a curator and fund innovative programs and exhibitions.
Jeffrey P. Cunard
Galleries' Long-Time Friend Furthers Standard of Excellence
Jeffrey P. Cunard takes a two-pronged approach to his philanthropy. He has given his time to the Freer and Sackler Galleries, having chaired their advisory board and now chairing their campaign committee. And he set up an unrestricted endowment that enables Director Julian Raby and his successors to take advantage of unforeseen opportunities. Through the endowment, the galleries are able to share their rich collections and bring innovative programs to a wider audience. “To maintain this standard of excellence, the director and his team need the financial flexibility to benefit from opportunities they might otherwise have to forgo,” Cunard says.
Dame Jillian Sackler
Director Gift Empowers Visionary Leadership
Arthur M. Sackler donated 1,000 Asian art pieces and a fund to build the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art. His widow, Dame Jillian Sackler, D.B.E., recently created an endowment to support the galleries’ director position, ensuring that the museums will forever be able to attract the world’s top scholars to lead them. "We want to ensure that the galleries always have visionary leadership," she says.
Docent Provides for Galleries' Japanese Art, Programs
In the spirit of Charles Lang Freer, Gail Yano has been inspired by the art of Japan and has made a remarkable commitment to the Freer and Sackler Galleries in support of Japanese art. A longtime docent, Yano received a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and is also an accomplished calligrapher and painter. In 2011, she designated the Freer and Sackler as the beneficiary of her entire estate, which will establish an endowment for the acquisition of Japanese art and support Japanese programming.
Gilbert and Anne Kinney
Their Commitment Includes Service and Support
Collectors Ann and Gilbert Kinney’s longtime support of the Freer and Sackler Galleries includes Ann Kinney’s service as a trustee, membership in the Friends of the Freer and Sackler, a generous gift and challenge grant to establish an endowment for the first curator of Southeast Asian art and, most recently, the gift of a group of Southeast Asian sculptures to the Sackler, which will transform the collection.
Sharing the Rich Culture of Iran
Jahangir Amuzegar, Ph.D., is an international economic consultant and former Minister of Commerce and Finance for the government of pre-revolution Iran. In 2011, he established the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Fund for Contemporary Iranian Art to support the purchase of contemporary Persian art for the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery’s collection. Concurrently, he established the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Persian Celebration Fund to support an annual Nowruz celebration, which draws thousands of visitors each year to welcome the Persian New Year.
Robert and Peggy Zelenka
Fund Cares for Collections
Robert and Peggy Zelenka have been devoted fans of the Freer and Sackler Galleries since their days as graduate students when they visited the Freer on weekends. Bob Zelenka has a passion for Japanese art, particularly the work of Katsushika Hokusai, while Peggy Zelenka has been long captivated by ancient Chinese bronzes. Recognizing that access to collections is critical to the Freer and Sackler Galleries’ mission, the Zelenkas are establishing a fund to support collections care and access so that the art they love will be a source of inspiration for generations to come.
Curator Brings New Vigor to Freer Gallery
Through an endowment established by an anonymous donor, the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery appointed Jan Stuart the Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art. Here, Stuart reflects on her position as the museum's first named curator.
The donor is interested in promoting greater understanding of Chinese art and culture at the national and international level. As the Seiden Curator, some of the first major acts were to identify and acquire an important, early 15th-century Ming dynasty copper-red glazed dish, and to work with donor Shirley Johnson on the gift of her fabulous imperial Qing dynasty formal court robe. I also am curating a two-object show with the dish and a Mark Rothko painting, exploring the power of red. This is unexpected. No one associates Rothko with the Freer Sackler. —Jan Stuart