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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 5:23 pm | Fair 62º


Eichholz Foundation Gives $3 million to Art Museum

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA) has received the largest commitment to date to its Imagine More Capital Campaign for the major renovation of its facilities.

The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation has given an additional $3 million, bringing its total gift to $5 million.

The new gift came in the form of a 1:2 challenge. For every $2 the museum raised from current and former trustees, the Eichholz Foundation would commit another $1.

In a single year, the museum raised $6 million and received the entire Eichholz commitment of $3 million. The generous gift was named the Eichholz Inspiration to reflect the spirit in which it was made.

A total of 47 current and sustaining trustees, campaign volunteers, and senior staff of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art stepped up to meet this challenge, with pledges totaling over $6 million.

With the completion of the Eichholz Inspiration, SBMA has raised over $32 million, well over half of the $50 million goal set for the Imagine More Capital Campaign. The list of donors who participated in this challenge includes:
Jane and Ken Anderson
Margaret and J. Robert Andrews
Patricia Aoyama and Chris Kleveland
Sarah Argyropoulos
Gwendolyn and Henry Baker
Jill and John C. Bishop, Jr.
Patricia and Richard Blake
Susan Bowey
Michele and Arnold Brustin
Robin and Dan Cerf
Zora and Les Charles
Marcia and John Mike Cohen
Sheila and James Davidson
Joan Davidson and John Schnittker
Katy and Ernest Drew
Christine and Robert Emmons
Lois Erburu
Starr Siegele and Larry Feinberg
Audrey and Timothy Fisher
Martha and John Gabbert
Dorothy and John Gardner
Anne and David Gersh
Katherine and Richard Godfrey
Elaine and Mike Gray
Penny Jenkins and Gregg Hackethal
Betsy and Jule Hannaford
Perri Harcourt
Christine and Michael Holland
Judith L. Hopkinson
Gina and Joseph Jannotta
J. Paul Longanbach and Donald Polk
Lillian Lovelace
Anne Luther
Sherry and Craig Madsen
Siri and Bob Marshall
Gretchen and Marshall Milligan
Lorie and Michael Porter
Nancy B. Schlosser
Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation
Vicki and Patrick Stone
Diane Sullivan
Clay Tedeschi
Clay Tedeschi in honor of Bob and Betty Klausner
Jeanne Towles
Polly and David Van Horne
Sarah and Philip Vedder
Susan and Bruce Worster

The museum has already begun construction in earnest, with current efforts focused on seismic retrofitting and structural work. To date, one third of the building has been seismically retrofitted.

The electrical system has been upgraded, and two thirds of the art collection has been moved to offsite storage.

Demolition and reconstruction have been extensive for shoring up walls and preparing for a new staircase, an underground electrical vault, and a custom designed 12-x-14-foot Art Receiving Facility (ARF), an enlarged loading dock and freight elevator.

The elevator will enhance the museum’s ability to handle larger works of art and receive important loans from other museums and collections. Completion of the ARF is on schedule for fall 2019.

“The Eichholz Foundation is proud to be a part of the museum’s renovation success," said Alexa Davidson Suskin, executive director of the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation.

"By stepping in with a lead gift as a challenge, we hoped to encourage others to contribute to this critical project as well," she said.

"Santa Barbara Museum of Art was dear to my grandmother’s heart and she would be pleased to see how our $3 million gift was leveraged into a $9 million result for this campaign,” Suskin said.

Alexa’s grandmother, Mercedes (Merci) Eichholz was an SBMA trustee from 1985-93 and 1995-2007. She served as board chair from 2001-03 and was a major donor of artwork to the collection.

“All of us on the SBMA staff and board have been extremely grateful for the generous, indeed, inspirational,  gift from the Eichholz Foundation, which has not only served to fund some of the absolutely critical needs of this renovation project, but which also has had a galvanizing effect on the museum’s capital campaign," said Larry J. Feinberg, SBMA’s Robert and Mercedes Eichholz director/CEO.

"The Eichholz Foundation has been a crucial driving force behind this campaign from its inception," he said.

"Our trustees have impressively responded with their usual, exemplary generosity and enthusiasm for what is not only a necessary but also transformative project for one of our community’s great treasures,” Feinberg said.

The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation was established in 2012 to support the arts, which is apropos, given the late Robert and Mercedes Eichholz were active supporters of the arts for decades.

Their lifetime giving to SBMA spanned 30 years and totaled more than $10 million, including, in 2012, the endowment of the museum’s director/CEO position, currently held by Feinberg.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is celebrated for the quality of its permanent collection. Its mission is to integrate art into the lives of people through internationally recognized exhibitions and education programs, as well as its permanent collection.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State St., is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday; free 5-8 p.m. Thursdays. For more, call 963-4364 or visit www.sbma.net.

— Katrina Carl for Santa Barbara Museum of Art.


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