American businesswoman and philanthropist
has pledged US$10 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to boost the museum’s live-art programs, the museum announced on Monday.
Arsht, a lawyer by training who later became the chairwoman of her family-owned banking business, TotalBank, previously donated US$5 million to the Met in 2020 to establish its first-ever fully paid internship programs.
This donation, the largest single gift to the museum’s Department of Live Arts, will make it possible for it “to continue to embrace resilience as a primary organizing principle, creating opportunities for trailblazing artists to conceive daring, innovative work, and encouraging audiences to see the world through a different lens,” Ms. Arsht said in a statement through the Met.
The Department of Live Arts at the Met commissions and presents live and digital performances by living artists or artistic practices that explore contemporary issues.
Arsht’s donation will be primarily funding programs with a resilience theme, according to the Met.
Upcoming performances include the premiere of Songs in Flight led by Grammy Award-winning musician Rhiannon Giddens, Pulitzer Prize-winner Tyehimba Jess, and composer Shawn Okpebholo, which tells stories about enslaved individuals fighting for freedom; and a performance by Theaster Gates and The Black Monks in response to the Met’s exhibition Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, S.C., which features approximately 50 ceramic objects made by Black potters before the Civil War.
Arsht, 80, has supported many arts and cultural institutions across the country. In 2008, she contributed US$30 million to Miami’s Performing Arts Center, which was renamed in honor of her. She donated US$10 million to Lincoln Center in New York in 2012, and another US$10 million to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., recently.
She also serves as a trustee or a leadership role in such institutions as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Gallery of Art, the Lincoln Center, the Atlantic Council, and the Council on Foreign Relations.