Stavros Niarchos Foundation makes landmark gift to Yale School of Art

Yale University announced today a contribution of $5 million from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (www.SNF.org). The gift creates a permanent, unrestricted endowment at Yale that will support core priorities of the Yale School of Art, while naming in perpetuity the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Dean. The endowment will help to advance the school’s leadership and presence in the global fine arts community.

A second gift of $900,000 will supplement three existing endowments for the school, created by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in 2010, to establish an artist’s residency, scholarships for international students, and a dean’s resource fund.

The university and the foundation will hold a formal celebration on the Yale campus in May to recognize the new gift as well as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s overall support of Yale.

With these grants, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s contributions to Yale total nearly $14 million. In 2007, the Foundation helped establish the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for Hellenic Studies at Yale University. It has also supported the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, Yale College scholarships, the Peabody Museum of Natural History, and the Child Study Center.

“I am deeply grateful for these latest contributions from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation,” said Yale President Peter Salovey. “The Foundation has our admiration and respect for its generous support of the arts worldwide. These gifts to the Yale School of Art will help to support the education of artists and the practice of art for years to come.”

In making its gifts, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation cited the accomplishments of renowned critic and artist Robert Storr, who has served as dean of the Yale School of Art since 2006.

Andreas C. Dracopoulos, the Foundation’s director and co-president, said, “Robert Storr’s exceptional artistic insight, leadership abilities, and character came to our notice during his time at the Museum of Modern Art, and they have been equally evident in his tenure at Yale. We are pleased to support his work at the Yale School of Art, as well as the efforts of future deans who will follow him.”

Critical support for art education

The Foundation’s gift of unrestricted endowment will allow the dean to direct funds to key areas such as financial aid, faculty support, teaching, visiting artists, and exhibitions. By naming the deanship, the gift will further help the school attract a succession of world-class artists to fill its leadership post.

“The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is one of our most generous benefactors, and I am both delighted and humbled by these contributions,” said Dean Storr. “The new endowments provide a permanent source of flexible funding that will help the school sustain its innovative teaching and practice at the forefront of art and art education.”

Among the world’s leading international philanthropic organizations, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation makes grants in four major areas: arts and culture, education, health and medicine, and social welfare. Since the commencement of its grant-making activities in 1996, the Foundation has awarded funds in excess of $1.4 billion to nonprofit organizations in 110 countries around the globe.  

The history and mission of the Yale School of Art

Yale’s artistic tradition can be traced to 1832 and the opening of the Trumbull Gallery, the first art museum connected with a college in the United States. A successful exhibition at the gallery in 1858 led to the establishment of an art school in 1864 and the official opening of the Yale School of the Fine Arts, the first art school in the country associated with an institution of higher learning, in 1869.

Today, the mission of the Yale School of Art is to provide students with intellectually informed, hands-on instruction in the practice of the visual arts within the context of a liberal arts university. The school is founded on the belief that art is a fundamental force in national and international culture. Educating both undergraduate and graduate students, the school offers degrees and majors in graphic design, painting and printmaking, photography, and sculpture. A full-time faculty of working artists, along with accomplished visiting artists, collaborates to create an environment where the unique talents and perspectives of students can flourish.