American Folk Art Museum Announces Five Million Dollar Gift from Becky and Bob Alexander

  • NEW YORK, Alaska
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  • June 28, 2022

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Photo by Olya Vysotskaya.

(New York, New York) - The American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) announced today a five million dollar gift from noted folk art collectors and patrons Becky and Bob Alexander of Rogers, Arkansas. In recognition of the gift, the position of Director and CEO has been renamed the Becky and Bob Alexander Director & CEO. Jason T. Busch, Director of AFAM since 2018 and the Museum’s CEO since 2020, is the position’s first incumbent, effective immediately.

“It is an honor to carry a title that celebrates Becky and Bob’s extraordinary generosity,” said Jason T. Busch. “They have been steadfast supporters of AFAM and on behalf of my colleagues I am deeply grateful for this outstanding investment in the Museum.”

“What began as an interest in advertising art and trade signs has blossomed into a lifelong passion for folk art,” commented Bob and Becky Alexander. “We can think of no better place where the importance, brilliance, and full scope of folk art can be presented, studied, and celebrated than the American Folk Art Museum.”

With the Alexander’s support, the Museum will continue to pursue and build upon the commitments laid out in its Strategic Plan, which emphasizes People, Place, and Program. As AFAM marks its 60th anniversary and its place as one of New York City’s only free museums, the gift is a clear and enthusiastic endorsement of the Museum’s staff, board, and leadership. It comes at a time when collection enhancements, groundbreaking exhibitions, cutting-edge and accessible educational offerings, and staff and board development programs have become hallmarks of the tenure of Jason T. Busch and Elizabeth V. Warren, President of the AFAM Board of Trustees.

“We are thrilled that the Alexanders are continuing their incredible support of the Museum with such a generous and game-changing gift,” said Elizabeth V. Warren.

The gift from the Alexanders will help the Museum maintain the scholarly and popular momentum of its broad-ranging exhibition program into the next decade and beyond. Typified by genre-bending shows such as PHOTO | BRUT: Collection Bruno Decharme & Compagnie and MULTITUDES, to deep dives into American weathervanes and quilts, and forthcoming presentations on Morris Hirshfield and the legacy of Francesc Tosquelles, AFAM’s exhibitions have drawn critical praise while increasing attendance to the Museum.

The Alexander’s investment in AFAM’s future arrives as the Museum’s Gifts of Art campaign— which includes the acquisition of the Audrey B. Heckler Collection, the Richard and Laura Parsons Collection, the Healing Arts Initiative’s archives, masterworks by Ammi Phillips and William Edmondson, and superb examples of quilts, works on paper, and photographs—has been the subject of international coverage in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Art Newspaper, Hyperallergic, and ARTnews, as well as in the broadcast media.

About Jason T. Busch

As Becky and Bob Alexander Director & CEO, Jason T. Busch leads the staff and strategy of an internationally recognized cultural organization and New York City’s only museum focused on the work of self-taught and folk artists across time and place. Mr. Busch has several decades of experience working in the arts throughout the United States. Prior to AFAM, Mr. Busch served in curatorial and leadership roles at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Saint Louis Art Museum. Mr. Busch received his Master of Arts (MA) degree from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture at the University of Delaware and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in American Studies with minors in Art and Architectural History and Anthropology from Miami University in Ohio. He is an academic member of the American Folk Art Society, serves on the Advisory Board for the College of Creative Arts at Miami University, and is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD).

 About Becky and Bob Alexander

For decades, Becky and Bob Alexander have been steadfast and enthusiastic supporters of several arts organizations, including the American Folk Art Museum. They have provided visionary support for groundbreaking exhibitions such as Folk Art and Modernism (2015) and American Made (2016). As perceptive and studious collectors, the Alexanders have created one of the leading collections of folk art in the United States. They have loaned works of art to numerous AFAM exhibitions, and they have helped the Museum to purchase important works including manuscripts, works on paper, and ceramics.

Mr. Alexander has served on the boards of Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock, the Walton Arts Center, and The Northwest Arkansas Razorback Club.  Mrs. Alexander has served on the Peel Museum and Bentonville Garden Club boards. In addition to AFAM, their support of the arts includes the Museum of Native American History, Walton Arts Center, TheatreSquared, The AMP, SoNA, Historic Arkansas Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Rogers Historic Museum, and the Compton-Peel Foundation. Together, Becky and Bob were leaders in Campaign Arkansas, a campaign that raised 1.5 billion dollars for the University of Arkansas' endowment.

About the American Folk Art Museum

The American Folk Art Museum engages people of all backgrounds through its collections, exhibitions, publications, and programs as the leading forum shaping the understanding and appreciation of folk and self-taught art across time and place.

 

 

Contact:
Chris Gorman
The American Folk Art Museum

publicrelations@folkartmuseum.org


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