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For the love of art: Mead Museum lands $3 million donation



Staff Writer
Thursday, January 18, 2018

2018 is off to a very strong start for the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College: An alum and his wife, both longtime supporters of the college and the museum, have donated $3 million to the Mead.

John Wieland, class of 1958, and his wife, Sue, have used their gift to endow the museum’s director and chief curator positions and to support some new initiatives at the Mead, including reinstallation of the collection and an increased focus on exhibitions and programs dedicated to international voices.

The Wielands, who live in Atlanta, Georgia, are longtime art collectors themselves. In a statement, John Wieland said he was a regular visitor to the Mead during his student days, and given his experience then and his connection to art today, helping the museum — including providing funds for new acquisitions — made a lot of sense.

“Sue and I are thrilled to be able to support the museum with a gift that will sustain the institution over time, and give back to the college in a way that is deeply meaningful for us personally,” he said.

Amherst College president Biddy Martin said the school is deeply grateful to the Wielands for their donation, while Mead Director David Little said the couple’s endowment support for the museum “reflects their generosity and commitment to us and, ultimately, to the Amherst students of the future.”

To honor the Wielands, and to share some of the 400-plus artworks in their collection, the Mead will open an exhibit of 60 of their works on Feb. 8.

“House: Selections from the Collection of John and Sue Wieland” will feature pieces by more than 30 artists, including Louise Bourgeois, Edward Burtynsky, Robert Gober, Félix González-Torres, Martha Rosler, Cindy Sherman and Ai Weiwei.

The exhibit, to be on view until July 1, will “engage with the idea of the house as a fundamental element of people’s lives, an interest driven by [John] Wieland’s professional life as a home-builder,” museum officials say.

As part of the Feb. 8 exhibit opening, Wieland and Little will give a public talk at 5 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium. An opening reception with remarks from President Martin will follow from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Mead.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.