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Katherine Paschal
IU Art Museum

Last modified: Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mellon Foundation grant helps IU Art Museum endow position

May 9, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Art Museum has learned it will receive a $500,000 endowment challenge grant through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help endow its senior academic officer position.

IU Art Museum Grant

The IU Art Museum has received a $500,000 challenge grant through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help endow its senior academic officer position, held by Jennifer Wagelie. Here, she works with students studying universal stories and themes in art.

Print-Quality Photo

The museum will use the Mellon award to leverage private funds to fully endow the position, with support from Indiana University. Once fully funded, the endowment will enable the IU Art Museum to provide future generations of students with the same types of museum-based courses and interdisciplinary academic programs that have proven successful since 2009, when the senior academic officer position was created with support from an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation pilot grant.

"This is a truly transformative opportunity for the IU Art Museum," IU Art Museum Director Adelheid M. "Heidi" Gealt said. "We are very proud the IU Art Museum has joined other prestigious university art museums -- including the Princeton University Art Museum, the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, and the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin -- as a recipient of a Mellon endowment challenge grant.

"The Mellon vote of confidence expressed through this endowment challenge grant will help us endow the senior academic officer position, ensuring that rigorous and interdisciplinary academic engagement with our collections will continue at the IU Art Museum into the future. I could not be more delighted. I am also profoundly grateful for the commitment IU has made, which I believe helped facilitate this positive outcome."

"In addition to being a space of beauty and aesthetic challenge, the IU Art Museum is an incredible academic resource for the Bloomington campus," Interim Provost Lauren Robel said. "It is a full and wonderful partner in fostering interdisciplinary collaborations. I am thrilled the Mellon Foundation has recognized the importance of the museum's scholarly mission by providing this generous challenge grant to fund the senior academic officer position.

"We are deeply grateful to the Mellon Foundation for the opportunities this grant will make possible for our students and the university community."

Senior Academic Officer Jennifer Wagelie will continue to teach courses and programs instituted in the past three years. She will also continue to develop new initiatives aimed at integrating the museum even more fully into the academic life of the university, including working to engage faculty members and students from non-arts disciplines to explore how the museum's collections might be used in their teachings and research.

Wagelie, who holds a doctoral degree in art history, has previously worked with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History.

"The IU Art Museum's senior academic officer position has proven extremely beneficial in fostering new and innovative relationships across a multitude of disciplines and departments at Indiana University," said Patrick McNaughton, Chancellor's Professor and chair of the university's Department of the History of Art. "Expanding the museum's community in this way is a most welcome development, because far too often the world of art is enjoyed for the beauty of its creations but unplumbed for the many ways art engages every other realm of human endeavor, from science to business to law."

"The IU Art Museum is a university treasure; not only because of its world-class holdings but because of the commitment its leadership and staff have to the educational mission of the university," said Charlene Brown, director of extracurricular activities at Hutton Honors College, which works closely with the museum. "The support the Mellon Foundation has provided in the past has enabled the museum to develop innovative courses, programming and outreach that have served that mission and been incredibly enriching for students and the public. The challenge grant shows how much the Mellon Foundation values what the museum has been doing and, when fully met, will provide the resources the museum needs to sustain that important, inspiring work."

For more information about the Mellon Endowment Challenge Grant, contact IU Art Museum marketing coordinator Katherine Paschal at If you wish to make a contribution to help the IU Art Museum meet the Mellon challenge, contact IU Art Museum associate director for development Paul Sturm at

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Created in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation currently makes grants in five core program areas: Higher Education and Scholarship; Scholarly Communications and Information Technology; Art History, Conservation and Museums; Performing Arts; and Conservation and the Environment.

About the IU Art Museum
Since its establishment in 1941, the IU Art Museum has grown from a small university teaching collection into one of the foremost university art museums in the country. Today, the IU Art Museum's internationally acclaimed collections, as varied as ancient gold jewelry, African masks, and paintings by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, include over 40,000 objects representing nearly every art-producing culture throughout history.