Associated Press: “New Miami Art Museum renamed after big donation”

The new Miami Art Museum is being renamed as a result of a major donation. In an interview with the Associated Press, Rebecca Tekula, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Helene and Grant Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Pace University, spoke on what the impact of this might be and whether a name can make or break a new museum. Tekula has taught cultural and arts management at the graduate level in Switzerland and also has background in fundraising in the U.S.

When the new Miami Art Museum opens in 2013, it will also have a different name: The Jorge M. Perez Art Museum of Miami-Dade County.

Perez, chairman and CEO of the Related Group, whose condominium developments have helped reshape the Miami skyline, has pledged $35 million to the museum, including $20 million in cash and $15 million in art from his personal collection.

So what impact, if any, will the renaming of the museum have?

The Miami Art Museum won’t be the first to carry the name of an important benefactor, though it does appear to be one of the largest public art museums to carry a donor’s name. Naming after donors tends to be more common at university galleries. Usually when an art museum takes the name of a donor, it’s because nearly all of the permanent collection belongs to the donor, said Rebecca Tekula, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Helene and Grant Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Pace University, in an¬†Associated Press interview.

Tekula said the donation is encouraging at a time when the arts have been hard hit by the economic downturn, though she and others cautioned that artwork valued at $15 million today may not be worth that in the future.

“$15 million doesn’t always get you that far,” Tekula said.

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