ArtsWatch: Architect Selected for Bezos Learning Center; Phillips Collection Acquisitions

This month’s ArtsWatch includes a generous donation to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, an architect selected for the new Bezos Learning Center on the National Mall and an official reopening date for the National Museum of Women in the Arts.  

Smithsonian Selects Architect to Plan Bezos Learning Center on The National Mall 

The Smithsonian Institution has chosen an architect to design the Bezos Learning Center at the National Air and Space Museum. The center will be created by the Chicago-based architecture firm Perkins&Will. The firm’s proposal was one of five shortlisted to design the $130 million dollar center. Their prospectus included a complex inspired by the swirls of the Milky Way constellation. The center will also include a restaurant and educational facilities.  

Smithsonian American Art Museum Announces $2 Million Gift from Helen Frankenthaler Foundation 

Earlier this month, The Smithsonian American Art Museum announced a $2 million dollar gift from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation. The gift marks the end of a $10 million campaign in support of the museum’s fellowship program, which is the world’s biggest and oldest dedicated to advancing American art scholarship. The $2 million dollar largesse marks the single biggest to the campaign. The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation was established and endowed by the artist (1928-2011) during her lifetime.  

Patrick D. McCoy Named Development and Communications Manager at the Washington Conservatory of Music 

Patrick D. McCoy has been hired to join the team at the Washington Conservatory of Music in Glen Echo Park, MD. The appointment follows McCoy’s two-year post as interim director of choral activities at Virginia State University. In addition to being organist and choirmaster at Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Beltsville, MD, McCoy is also an arts moderator, curator, journalist and reviewer.  

Patrick D. McCoy has been named development and communications director at the Washington Conservatory of Music. Photo from M3 Mitchell Marketing and Media.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts Sets Reopening Date 

After remaining closed due to an extensive renovation, The National Museum of Women in the Arts will reopen once again October 21. The renovation includes over 20 percent additional exhibit space, a new “Learning Commons” that integrates a research library and an education/studio into the gallery space, a reimagining of the museum’s collection, and more.   

The inaugural show at the museum will be “The Sky’s the Limit,” which will feature work from 13 international contemporary women artists including Petah Coyne, Alison Saar, Davina Semo, and more. 

The National Museum of Women in the Arts officially reopens in October. Photo by Cameron Robinson.

The Phillips Collection Announces Recent Acquisitions  

The Phillips Collection announced recent acquisitions, including major working that enrich areas of the museum’s collection with an emphasis on photography. Through multiple gifts, over 60 photos from artists Frank Stewart, Aaron Siskind, Zanele Muholi, and more entered the collection. Works from artists like Linling Lu and Marta Pérez Garcia will reinforce existing holdings. The Phillips Collection is excited to enrich their photography holdings and diversify their collection with these acquisitions.  “We are delighted to acquire works by such an expansive and dynamic group of artists,” said Vradenburg Director and CEO Jonathan P. Binstock in a press release. “The Phillips Collection has a unique history and legacy of collecting from its beginnings as a private collection established by Duncan Phillips. We remain dedicated to the founding principles of Phillips’s pioneering vision while actualizing the museum’s strides toward inclusivity by collecting work by LGBTQ+ artists, women, artists of color, and those who have been historically overlooked.”  

Works by Marta Pérez García have been acquired by The Phillips Collection. Marta Pérez García, “Nameless,” 2021-22. Handmade paper, wire, nails, metal spikes, hair, teeth, film negative, Dimensions variable. Photo by Lee Stalsworth. Courtesy The Phillips Collection.




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