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Danforth Art Museum receives $100,000 endowment gift

By Adam Harrison

News Editor 


The Danforth Art Museum and School received a $100,000 donation from Katherine and Robert Eyre on Feb 26. 


Museum Director and Curator Jessica Roscio said both Katherine and Robert serve as Trustees on the Danforth Art Alliance, which is the Danforth Art Museum’s volunteer board.


“They have been supporters of the Danforth, our mission, and our connection to the University for a few years now,” she said. 


President Nancy Niemi said in an email, “The Eyre family’s generous donation to the Danforth Art Center at Framingham State University is a gift to the future and a significant statement about the importance of arts in the lives of our community.”


The museum will be naming its permanent collection the “Katherine and Robert Eyre Gallery” in honor of the donors, she said.


The donation is an unrestricted endowment, which means the museum is able to use it however it sees fit. 


“As the first gift to be specifically designated for an unrestricted endowment fund since the institution became part of Framingham State University, we celebrate its power to benefit the initiatives of the museum and art school,” Niemi said. 


Roscio said she is incredibly grateful for the Eyres’ support for the museum. Over the last two years, they have “provided funding for our Curatorial Fellowship, which is awarded yearly to an FSU student interested in pursuing a career in the museum field.” 


In addition, they also donated funds for an upcoming Danforth advertisement campaign with WBUR, a public radio station owned by Boston University, which will begin in early April. 


She said the donation will be used to create an endowment for the Danforth Art Museum and School, and used to run general operations. 


“As a newly endowed fund, it will also be matched at 50% through a current state program. Our endowed funds are held by the FSU Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3),” she said.


A 501(c)(3) is an organization “organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, educational, or other specified purposes … [and is] tax exempt,” according to the IRS website. 


Roscio said because the $100,000 is held by the FSU foundation, the funds cannot be used immediately. The Danforth will receive a small percentage of the funds each year. 


“This fund will primarily serve to support the Danforth’s future, and having an endowment which grows each year is yet another step towards the organization’s long-term sustainability,” she said. 


The museum “hosts around seven unique exhibitions, maintains a 3,700 piece collection, offers a wide range of public programming, and operates a community show for children, teens, and adults,” and these funds will aid with the operation and upkeep of these events, she said. 


Roscio said although the museum and art school don’t provide resources directly to students, they provide several opportunities for FSU students, including the potential to work as a part of the Museum Visitor Services Staff or to become involved with the new Museum Ambassadors Tour Guide Program, as well as other internship opportunities. 


“We also offer classes and workshops for students of all ages in our art school,” she said. 


She said she encouraged students to submit ideas and input on how to improve the museum. 


“We always welcome students to be in touch with us to share their ideas and learn more about the Danforth,” she said. 


Roscio said the best place to get started is on the Danforth website at danforth.framingham.edu.


“If you haven’t visited the Danforth, please do!  We are located across Route 9 on the Framingham Centre Common.


“Admission and membership is always free for FSU students, and we have opportunities available for students who are interested in learning more about a career in the arts,” she said.

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