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New York’s first LGBT art museum gets $10 million gift donation

New York’s first LGBT art museum gets $10 million gift donation

The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York, has received major gifts in excess of $10 million (€8 million).

This constitutes the largest donation ever received by any LGBT arts organization.

A gift of $8.8 million was made by Charles W. Leslie, in memory of his long-time partner of 48 years, Fredric D (Fritz) Lohman who died in 2009. 

This is joined by other substantial donations, including $1.5 million from the Estate of Marion Pinto, an artist and long-time friend and supporter of Leslie and Lohman.

The Leslie-Lohman Museum is the first and only dedicated gay and lesbian art museum in the world, whose mission is to ‘exhibit and preserve gay and lesbian art and foster the artists who create it.’

Jonathan D. Katz, President of the Leslie-Lohman Museum’s Board of Directors said: ‘Charles Leslie is one of the few individuals in New York with both the capacity, and the political will, to rectify the silence around gay/lesbian art and artists in New York’s major museums, by setting up our own gay and lesbian art museum.’

‘We’re excited to be presenting exhibitions that finally acknowledge important artists like Paul Thek fully in the round, and this major gift will enable us to continue to exhibit high quality shows for a long time to come.’ 

The money will also go towards expanding staff, operations and enabling free admission to the museum.

Lohman and Leslie had been collecting art for several years, and mounted their first exhibition of gay art in their loft on Prince Street in New York City in 1969.

They opened a commercial art gallery shortly thereafter, but this venue closed in the early 1980s at the advent of the AIDS pandemic.

In 1989, they established a foundation to preserve their collection of gay art and continue exhibition efforts.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) objected to the word ‘gay’ in the title of the foundation, and held up the non-profit application for nearly a decade.However, the foundation was finally granted non-profit status in 1990.

The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art has a permanent collection of more than 6,000 objects spanning more than three centuries of gay and lesbian art.

Their program includes between 6-8 major exhibitions a year, film screenings, play performances, poetry readings, artist and curator talks and panel discussions.

For further information on the Leslie-Lohman Museum, visit their official website.