Perrysburg family donates $2 million to art museum PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Thursday, 20 May 2010 09:28
Mary Wolfe studied art history at Bowling Green State University and has a particular interest in  the Italian Renaissance and Baroque when art patrons commissioned art and buildings that are still admired.
Wolfe and her husband, Frederic "Fritz" Wolfe, of Perrysburg, have set about leaving their own mark on the arts landscape in Northwest Ohio. The Toledo Museum of the Arts announced this morning that the long-time supporters of the arts in the region are donating $2 million toward the renovation of the museum's East Wing. The wing formerly housed the  glass gallery, which is now located across the street in the Glass Pavilion, and will be converted into what the museum terms "a  signature gallery" for its growing modern and contemporary collections.  
The Wolfes made the gift earlier this year to jump-start construction on the gallery.
"The plan is to renovate the space into a modern and contemporary gallery that will showcase the Museum's growing holdings in those areas and re-introduce the Toledo Museum of Art to the world as an institution with an important and compelling collection of contemporary works," Bigelow was quoted as saying in the press release announcing the donation.
The space underwent demolition in 2008. But fundraising plans were put on hold because of the economic downturn.
"Fritz and Mary have stepped forward to say that they not only believe in the future of the Toledo Museum of Art, they believe in the future of this region," said Betsy Brady, Toledo Museum of Art Board chair. "We certainly hope others will follow their lead and continue to contribute toward a healthy future for the museum."
The Wolfes also donated $1.5 million toward finding an architect to design the $40 million Wolfe Center for the Arts on the BGSU campus.
The Toledo Museum in recognition both of this donation as well as previous donations and service will name the new gallery Frederic and Mary Wolfe Gallery.
"We have always enjoyed and admired the Museum," said Mary Wolfe. "We feel fortunate that we are able to help with the development of this new gallery space."
Mary and Fritz Wolfe have been long-time supporters of the Museum. Fritz Wolfe served on the Museum board for 27 years, providing leadership to the investment review committee, among many other assignments. He retired from active board service at the end of 2009 and continues his involvement with the museum as an honorary board member.
Mary Wolfe has been equally involved, co-chairing the organization's 100th anniversary celebration in 2001 and currently serving on the search committee for a new director. The East Wing currently houses the Museum's Classic Court and Peristyle Theater, which will not change, along with several small contemporary galleries and an African gallery.
When construction is complete, the relocation of the modern and contemporary collections will free up space to move and expand the Asian collection from its current home in the West Wing. Objects will be able to be grouped by region or country of origin in adjoining rooms, which should aid in interpretation. In addition, the African collection will receive a new home with expanded space.
"This project will involve closing several galleries in the East Wing for a period of months," noted Bigelow.  "A specific timeline has not been established, but the community will receive ample notice of any closings so everyone can visit their favorite works of art before they come off public view."
"Nearly 80 percent of the Museum's annual budget comes from donated dollars," Bigelow said.  "It is truly a testament to our members and donors like Mary and Fritz Wolfe that the Toledo Museum of Art is so world-renowned for the expansiveness and quality of its collection."

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