David Geffen Pledges Historic $150 Million to the Building LACMA Campaign

  • LOS ANGELES, California
  • /
  • October 04, 2017

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David Geffen
Image: Bruce Weber

On Oct. 4, philanthropist and entertainment executive David Geffen announced his pledge of $150 million toward LACMA's new galleries. The largest single cash gift from an individual in the museum's history, Geffen's philanthropic support also makes him the largest individual donor to the Building LACMA campaign. The new Peter Zumthor-designed building will be called the David Geffen Galleries in honor of his extraordinary gift. 

David Geffen said, “I am excited to see the positive effects this new building will have on Los Angeles’s art and architectural communities. This innovative addition to the LACMA campus will ensure ongoing and expanded access to their permanent collection. LACMA will be able to touch millions of lives and create an even healthier and more vibrant community for everyone.” He continued, “At a time when federal funding for the arts is threatened, it’s important that we foster public-private partnerships, like this one, to support arts and cultural institutions. We must ensure that the public, everyone, has access to these venerable institutions. I am proud to partner with the County and other members of the community in helping LACMA move this remarkable project from vision to reality. Together, we can and must make sure every person has access to the arts.”

“This historic commitment propels LACMA’s two-decade expansion and rebuilding project forward,” said Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director. “David Geffen is one of Los Angeles’s, and our nation’s, most generous philanthropists. This gift, for which we are incredibly grateful, ensures that our new building becomes a reality. Pledges of this magnitude are incredibly rare, and David’s commitment demonstrates his belief in the power of art museums to reach a broad and diverse public and create significant civic benefit. ”

Elaine Wynn and Tony Ressler, co-chairs of LACMA’s board of trustees, said, “We are immensely grateful to David for his profound support of the museum, and for the vast opportunities his investment provides for LACMA’s future. Through his significant philanthropy across the nation, he has strengthened the fabric of our communities by supporting education, arts and culture, social justice, and improved health. David, who achieved his business success in L.A., has long given generously to causes that have moved our city and citizens forward, and his latest commitment only underscores his civic leadership.” 

With this pledge, the total amount committed to the campaign is $450 million, which includes a major contribution from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and significant pledges from LACMA board co-chair Elaine Wynn, patron A. Jerrold Perenchio, and trustee Eric Smidt and his wife Susan, in addition to other substantial committments from members of the board of trustees.

The David Geffen Galleries, which will replace four of LACMA's seven current buildings, is intended to enable the museum's vast encyclopedic collection to be shown and experienced in innovative ways. The project is scheduled to begin construction in 2019, with the new building slated to open in 2023.

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