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University of Chicago Smart Museum of Art Receives $5 Million Gift

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS—The Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago has recived a $5 million donation from university alumni Joan and Robert Feitler that will establish the Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry. The center aims to “be a destination for scholars and community members to engage in interdisciplinary research, learning and conversations driven by the study and experience of original works of art.”

“The arts play a distinct role in fulfilling the University of Chicago’s commitment to open discourse and rigorous inquiry as informed by a diversity of ideas, identities, and experiences,” said Alison Gass, Smart Museum director. “The new Feitler Center will serve as a place for thinkers to come together to advance new understandings through an exchange of diverse perspectives and ideas via the lens of art objects and artistic practices.”

The center will allow for more faculty- and student-curated exhibitions and the study of objects and artwork relevant to various university departments’ curricula. The Feitler Center will be led by Issa Lampe, former associate curator for academic affairs at the Yale University Art Gallery. “I’m thrilled to join the Smart Museum and look forward to building upon its forty-year legacy in the world of academic museums,” Lampe said. “This generous gift from the Feitler family will enable us to develop additional programs to support the teaching and learning of faculty and students at the University of Chicago.”

The Feitler’s donation is one of the largest in the museum’s history. In 2011, the couple were awarded the University of Chicago medal for their continued support of the institution. The museum was named for David and Albert Smart, Joan Feitler’s uncles and early donors to the museum’s collection.

February 14, 2018