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Asian Art Museum Reaches $100 Million in Capital Campaign; Announces New Matching Grant Challenge

Major gifts exceed fundraising goals, position museum for successful transformation and expansion; Industry awards recognize museum’s excellence on multiple fronts.

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The Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion (exterior), concept design by wHY, 2017. Rendering © wHY and Asian Art Museum.
San Francisco, Oct. 9, 2019 —Asian Art Museum Director and CEO Dr. Jay Xu is thrilled to announce that the museum has successfully raised $100 million in private giving for its ongoing transformation project, surpassing initial goals. For All, the Campaign for the Asian Art Museum supports a major expansion of the museum and enhancement of its public spaces, the development of exhibitions and programs, and endowment growth. The additional funds raised ensure the museum is poised for the April 2020 unveiling of its expansive new Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion — which will open with an immersive exhibition from Japanese digital collective teamLab — and the new East West Bank Art Terrace, featuring landmark contemporary installations. The opening of the transformed museum kicks off with an eventful month of community celebrations.

Campaign Chair and Board Co-Chair Akiko Yamazaki delivered news of reaching $100 million on Wednesday, Sep. 25, during the museum’s public annual meeting. To leverage excitement around this campaign milestone, Yamazaki announced that she and her husband Jerry Yang are sponsoring a $1 million challenge grant. Gifts pledged on or before Oct. 31 will be matched two to one, with subsequent gifts matched one to one through the end of 2019. More than a dozen board members immediately responded to the challenge, with close to $400,000 donated in a single night. 
“Giving on this scale is a confirmation that the Asian Art Museum is a valued asset, worthy of continued investments,” says Yamazaki. “The vision for the museum’s future has energized museum staff and board members for the enormous endeavor we have undertaken over the last several years, and it is truly gratifying to see such overwhelming support. We are so excited to be so close to the finish line in successfully delivering on the vision.”
Xu continues, “The ongoing success of this campaign expresses the tremendous generosity of our stakeholders. It represents their deep esteem for the museum as well as their passion for everything we’re doing to enhance the visitor experience. From reimagining the presentation of our masterpieces with engaging, dynamic digital tools, to offering dedicated galleries for exciting contemporary art, to expanding our building so there are always special exhibitions on view — the For All campaign leaves an outstanding legacy for an ever-growing community of art-lovers in San Francisco, the Bay Area and globally.”

Chief Philanthropy Officer Nancy McLaughlin Sackson says, “Raising $100 million in just a few short years is evidence of the museum’s extraordinary momentum.” Board Co-Chair Lucy Sun adds, “The broad appeal of the campaign to so many different kinds of supporters underscores the inherent value of the museum's transformation and its visionary efforts to make Asian art and culture essential ‘for all.’”

Industry Awards Honor Museum Commitment to Accessible Visitor Experience and Dynamic Arts Scholarship

As part of the transformation project, the museum’s extensive work expanding accessibility online, on-site and within every exhibition has been recognized by the World Institute of Disability with the Disability Leadership for Access in the Arts Award. Critical initiatives include lowering the height of text panels; partnering with Lighthouse for the Blind on tactile experiences and descriptive audio guides; closed-captioned videos in the galleries; audio options for gallery tablet devices; regrading exterior wheelchair ramps; large-print labels for special exhibitions; a braille map of the museum; ASL interpretation of museum masterpieces; regularly scheduled access days; touch and descriptive tours during programs; and website content that is fully compatible with screen readers.

This commitment to meaningful encounters with art extends as well to the museum’s publications program. The Asian Art Museum’s 336-page, full-color Collection Highlights (2018) was named “best book” of the year by the prestigious American Alliance of Museums. The publication showcases curators’ dynamic scholarship around the museum’s world-renowned collection, and offers fresh perspectives on superlative artworks from every cultural and geographic region of Asia.

About the Asian Art Museum

The Asian Art Museum–Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture is one of San Francisco's premier arts institutions and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 18,000 Asian art treasures from throughout Asia spanning 6,000 years of history. Through rich art experiences, centered on historic and contemporary artworks, the Asian Art Museum unlocks the past for visitors, bringing it to life while serving as a catalyst for new art, new creativity and new thinking.


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