Press RoomPhoenix Art Museum receives $250,000 major gift in support of contemporary art acquisitions and education programs

Phoenix Art Museum receives $250,000 major gift in support of contemporary art acquisitions and education programs

Phoenix Art Museum receives $250,000 major gift in support of contemporary art acquisitions and education programs
Sep, 25, 2023

Major Gifts

Phoenix Art Museum receives $250,000 major gift in support of contemporary art acquisitions and education programs

Renewed support from acclaimed Valley collectors Dawn and David Lenhardt will fund the Museum’s Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative for 5 additional years, bringing overall support to $1+ million

PHOENIX (September 25, 2023) – Phoenix Art Museum (PhxArt) announces the renewal of the David and Dawn Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative, made possible through a gift of $250,000 from the Arizona-based family. The Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative seeks to deepen the Museum’s commitment to contemporary art and elevate the institution’s profile on a national scale through an annual artist lecture series, the designation of a contemporary art gallery, and the acquisition of contemporary artworks by artists in the field. Established in 2017, the initiative was expanded in 2021 to support the diversification of PhxArt’s contemporary art collection through the acquisition of works by artists contributing to discourses on race, gender, and other socially relevant concerns, including those by Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and women artists, among others. This recent gift ensures the Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative will continue for an additional five years in support of the Museum’s contemporary art acquisitions and education programs. It brings overall support of the Lenhardt Contemporary Initiative to more than $1 million since the program’s inception.

“We are deeply grateful to Dawn and David Lenhardt for renewing their support of an initiative that has not only allowed us to diversify our contemporary art holdings but provided valuable opportunities for intellectual exchange and community-building through art,” said Jeremy Mikolajczak, the Sybil Harrington Director and CEO of Phoenix Art Museum. “Through the Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative, the Museum has acquired six outstanding works that have brought a diversity of perspective and creative expression to our contemporary art collection. We have also welcomed numerous internationally renowned artists and thought leaders to the Valley, enabling our audiences and the local artist community to engage with significant figures in the field of global contemporary art. We look forward to advancing these efforts, in partnership with the Lenhardt family, over the next five years.”

“Dawn and I are thrilled to continue our support of the Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative at Phoenix Art Museum,” said David Lenhardt, vice-chair of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. “We remain dedicated to supporting the Museum in its mission to become an inclusive space of belonging, where everyone can see themselves reflected in the art on the walls or the programs in the galleries. It has been a pleasure to witness the initiative expand over the past five years in the pursuit of this goal, and we are excited to see what more the Museum can achieve.”

The flagship program of the Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative is the semiannual Lenhardt Lecture, presented each spring and fall at Phoenix Art Museum. The program features a presentation by or conversation with emerging and internationally renowned contemporary artists. Additionally, Lenhardt Lecture speakers are asked to participate in arts-education opportunities with the community. Since the inaugural Lenhardt Lecture in 2018, the Museum has welcomed artists Jim Hodges, Shara Hughes, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Arcmanoro Niles, Teresita Fernández, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Derek Fordjour, Rashid Johnson, and, in 2023, Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe in conversation with curator and cultural critic Larry Ossei-Mensah.

Additionally, the initiative supports the expansion and diversification of the Museum’s contemporary art collection. Since 2017, the Lenhardt family’s generosity has enabled the Museum to acquire artworks by Shara Hughes, Arcmanoro Niles, Derek Fordjour, Rashid Johnson, Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, and Lily Stockman. For high-resolution images of select works, click here.

The Lenhardt Gallery, located within the Museum’s Ellen and Howard C. Katz Wing for Modern Art, also remains dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary art, with rotating displays of artworks from the Museum’s collection and significant loans from national and Phoenix collectors.

“In a few short years, the Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative has had palpable and important impacts on the Museum’s collection and programmatic focus,” said Olga Viso, the Selig Family Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs at PhxArt. “It has fueled the Museum’s larger institutional priorities around program and audience development and has brought artists of national and international renown to the Greater Phoenix Metro Area to engage directly with audiences and our thriving local artist community.”

For more information or interviews, contact the Museum’s Communications Office at

About Phoenix Art Museum
Since 1959, Phoenix Art Museum has provided millions of guests with access to world-class art and experiences in an effort to ignite imaginations, create meaningful connections, and serve as a brave space for all people who wish to experience the transformative power of art. Located in Phoenix’s Central Corridor, the Museum is a vibrant destination for the visual arts and the largest art museum in the southwestern United States. Each year, more than 300,000 guests engage with critically acclaimed national and international exhibitions and the Museum’s collection of more than 19,000 works of American and Western American, Asian, European, Latin American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design. The Museum also presents a comprehensive film program, live performances, and educational programs designed for visitors of all ages, along with vibrant photography exhibitions made possible through the Museum’s landmark partnership with the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona. To learn more about Phoenix Art Museum, visit, or call 602.257.1880.

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