The Tacoma Art Museum has announced a bequest from Becky Benaroya comprising paintings, sculpture, and art glass by Northwest and international artists as well as a cash gift of nearly $14 million.
Announced on Benaroya's ninety-third birthday, the bequest includes two hundred and twenty-five works of art from the private collection she and her late husband, real estate developer and arts philanthropist Jack Benaroya, amassed over seventy years of marriage. The Benaroya collection includes a hundred and fifty works in glass by Northwest artists such as Sonja Blomdahl, Dale Chihuly, and Flora C. Mace, as well as national and international artists, making TAM's studio art glass collection one of the most important in the country. The gift also includes paintings and sculptures by a number of important Northwest artists, including Morris Graves, Deborah Butterfield, and Mark Tobey.
The cash donation will fund construction of a 7,390-square-foot gallery addition to house the collection; an endowment to support and maintain the collection; and the hiring of a dedicated curator. While the new gallery wing is scheduled to open in the fall of 2018, a preview exhibition of the collection will open later this year.
"We approached TAM for many reasons; chief among them was the museum's focus on Northwest art," Benaroya said in a statement. "We also wanted to keep the collection together and in the Northwest."
"This is an ideal gift," TAM executive director Stephanie Stebich told the Seattle Times. "A significant art collection built with vision and passion and a donor who's able to offer funds for new galleries makes a powerful combination."