American Visionary Art Museum Offering Naming Rights for a $25M Donation

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The American Visionary Art Museum. Photo by Jack Hoffberger.

A deep-pocketed philanthropist or art lover has an opportunity to make a lasting mark on Baltimore’s coolest art museum.

The Baltimore Sun and BBJ (paywall) reported Friday that the American Visionary Art Museum at the bottom of Federal Hill is seeking a $25 million donation to chart its course for the future. In exchange, the willing donor would receive naming rights for America’s official national museum for outsider art.

Rebecca Hoffberger, AVAM’s director, founded the museum in 1995, and is now leading it into its 23rd year. According to an emailed statement from the museum, this new infusion of cash would shore up AVAM’s endowment, help pay Hoffberger’s successor after she retires, purchase a space nearby that would serve as a new library, boost museum programs, pay for exhibitions and building repairs and keep a reserve in case of emergencies. There’s also talk of opening a satellite location in California.

But not just any donor-naming deal will do. Ideally it would be a “spirit kindred to the museum.”

“We are looking for a prospective donor who has been personally moved and appreciates the wildly positive impact AVAM has had locally as well nationally as a favored destination unlike any other in the U.S.,” Hoffberger said in a statement.

If you haven’t visited the museum located off of Key Highway, you’re missing out. AVAM is known for its distinctively unusual and oftentimes mind-expanding installations. Each one is assembled by a guest curator and features works produced by some of the world’s most gifted self-taught artists. The museum is currently about to wrap up “Yummm!,” its 11-month showcase of multimedia art concerning humans’ complex relationship with food. The show ends Sept. 3.

If you do head down and like what you see, be sure to reach out to your closest friend with $25 million to spare. They could help keep Baltimore’s outsider art stronghold running for many more years to come.

This story has been updated with comment from the American Visionary Art Museum.

Ethan McLeod
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