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The Campaign for the Freer|Sackler

The Galleries’ groundbreaking exhibitions, cutting-edge research, and rich schedule of free public programs depend on private support. In order to ensure that our standards of excellence are maintained for future generations, the Galleries have embarked on a $55 million campaign to build endowment and support for current programs. To date we have raised just over $40 million, and to reach our goal every gift—including yours—counts!

The Freer and Sackler bring the art and culture of more than half the world’s population to the nation’s capital and across the globe. In this age of the “pivot to Asia,” the need to understand Asian history and culture has never been greater.

As a nation, we have become more diverse. Today, our charge is not only to explain Asia to the American public, but to inspire curiosity, understanding, and respect, nationally and globally. The Freer and Sackler Galleries are extraordinary cultural resources for the nation and the world. They have helped successive generations develop a keen appreciation of Asian art and culture, and contributed scholarship that has advanced the field worldwide.

With this campaign, we reaffirm our commitment to preserving and building our collections, advancing understanding, and providing an inspiring environment in which to appreciate art. In an era of waning federal funding, the generosity of visionary individuals is key to providing the resources that will ensure the Freer and Sackler continue to represent the best in Asian art and culture.

Join us in making this journey into Asian art joyous and rewarding. Each and every gift is important!

Yours sincerely,

Julian Raby
The Dame Jillian Sackler Director
of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art


The Galleries are seeking to raise funds as follows:

  • $33 million for endowment
  • $20 million for current operations during the campaign
  • $2 million for the refurbishment of the Meyer Auditorium

Endowment funds raised will support our eight core program areas:
American art
Chinese art
Contemporary Asian art
Indian art
Iranian art
Japanese art
Korean art
Southeast Asian art

American art

The Freer is home to the world’s finest and most comprehensive collection of James McNeill Whistler’s work, as well as a significant collection of American art of the Aesthetic Movement. Endowing the position of American art curator for $2.5 million will ensure that these remarkable collections remain a dynamic resource for scholarship and exhibitions for generations to come. An anonymous foundation has pledged a $1.25 million challenge grant toward this position and we need $1.25 million to meet this match.

Chinese art

The Galleries have an unparalleled collection of Chinese art, including ancient jades and bronzes, paintings, calligraphy, and ceramics. The painting collection is the inspiration for the forthcoming exhibition Parallels and Convergences: Pictorial Space in the Art of Italy and China. This landmark exhibition will explore artistic exchange between China and Europe and is being developed in collaboration with the National Museum, Beijing, and the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. Like previous groundbreaking exhibitions such as Return of the Buddha, this initiative will require major private support.

A $1 million challenge grant received from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will enable the establishment of a Chinese painting conservator at the Galleries ($210,000 is still needed to meet the challenge). We have also received a challenge grant of $1.5 million toward a $3 million endowment for a curator of Chinese art.

Contemporary Asian art

The Sackler is uniquely positioned to present contemporary work by Asian artists in dialogue with Asia’s traditional arts. In 2001, the Sackler organized the first major museum exhibition in the United States of art by a contemporary Chinese artist, featuring the work of Xu Bing. Gifts in honor of the Sackler’s twenty-fifth anniversary raised $1 million toward the $4 million needed to endow the contemporary program. Fully endowing the contemporary Asian area will ensure that the Sackler’s robust program remains strong.

Indian art

Charles Lang Freer fell “heels over head in love” with India during his first visit in 1894. Today, Indian art is central to the Galleries’ mission. The superb collections of painting and sculpture foster greater understanding of South Asia’s aesthetic traditions, culture, and history, as exemplified by the award-winning exhibitions Garden and Cosmos and Yoga: The Art of Transformation.

Iranian art

Each year, thousands of families ring in the Persian New Year, Nowruz, at the Galleries’ daylong celebration of Persian culture. Inspired by the Galleries’ extraordinary collections of manuscript paintings and ancient Iranian silver, this event was endowed in perpetuity by a generous donor in 2012. Priorities for the campaign include endowing the position of senior curator of the arts of Iran and the Islamic world for $3.5 million.

Japanese art

The arts of Japan were one of Charles Lang Freer’s early passions. Over the past century, the Freer and Sackler have built remarkable Japanese collections across all media. The primary goal for the remainder of the campaign is to endow a position of junior curator of Japanese art for $2.5 million. The campaign for Japanese art seeks to raise endowment of $5 million.

Korean art

The Freer’s distinguished collections of Korean ceramics and rare Goryeo paintings are the foundation of a growing cultural exchange between the Galleries and the Republic of Korea, which has provided generous funding for Korean initiatives. They also have inspired an annual Korean film festival.

Southeast Asian art

Southeast Asia is an increasingly vibrant presence at the Freer and Sackler. Ceramics have been the focal point of the Southeast Asian collections, and today the Galleries are increasing their holdings in sculpture. As part of the campaign, we have received a generous challenge grant of $250,000 to help establish a position for the first curator of Southeast Asian art.

Refurbishing the Meyer Auditorium for the Next Generation

The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Auditorium in the Freer is home to many of the Galleries’ most beloved public programs, including film festivals, lectures, concerts, and a variety of other presentations. Funds raised through the campaign will ensure that world-class programs will have a state-of-the-art venue in the Meyer for the next twenty-five years.
The campaign for the Meyer Auditorium seeks to raise $2 million for a comprehensive renovation, the first in a quarter-century.

For further information on the campaign for the Freer|Sackler, please contact:

Elisa Glazer
Director of External Affairs

Jessica Duby
Individual Major Gifts Officer

Laura Willumsen
Institutional Major Gifts Officer

Make a Gift

Only 30% of our funding derives from government sources. Your tax-deductible gift will help in so many ways! Learn about how your gift will benefit the Freer|Sackler.



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