Chace and Josie Anderson have held many roles in support of the Cleveland Museum of Art, from students in the museum’s art classes to leaders in the Womens Council and the Musart Society. Late this fall, Josie kindly shared the following reflections on how the Andersons’ experiences led to their making a transformational planned gift.
How did you first become involved with the CMA?
I first became involved with the CMA through Saturday morning art classes, which, for many, were a gateway to exploring art making and the museum’s collection. My mother was also a volunteer in the Prints and Drawings Department and Extension Exhibitions, and I learned about the inner workings of the museum from her. In my last year at Laurel School, the museum offered a study program (probably a precursor to AP courses) in the galleries that was taught by Marjorie Williams, who worked in the Education Department for 36 years and headed it for 15. She inspired me to study art history in college and to continue my engagement with the museum when I returned. In 1983, I joined the Womens Council as a member while also working as a community relations specialist at American Greetings Corporation.
After serving on the Womens Council board for many years, I was asked to serve as vice chair in 2013, then as chair from 2015 to 2017. My years as chair were significant ones, as the Womens Council celebrated their 75th anniversary as well as the museum’s centennial in 2016! Chace became involved with the museum first in a musical capacity, where he served for 25 years as treasurer and continues to serve as a member of the board of the Musart Society. Together, we also joined the Painting and Drawing Society and participated in memorable director’s trips to Berlin and London.
You have both held important volunteer positions with the CMA. How have those experiences impacted your engagement with the museum?
Our experiences as volunteers at the museum have led us to appreciate the high caliber of the leadership, the expertise of the curatorial team and all the staff, and, of course, the carefully honed quality of the museum’s collection. They have also given us a sense of contributing to the cultural life of our community. Specifically, our roles have highlighted the importance of education in allowing all audiences to engage with and enjoy the collection freely and as often as they please.
Your generous planned gift will have a lasting impact on the CMA for generations to come. What or who inspired you to make your transformational planned gift?
We are approaching a stage of life where we are beginning to think about ensuring the future of what distinguishes Cleveland culturally. The CMA is one of the foremost of many excellent Cleveland institutions that are foundational to enriching the cultural life of the city. The CMA is a great asset on a worldwide stage, and we felt compelled to do our part to ensure it endures for future generations.
What would you share with others who may be considering making a gift through their will or estate?
A bequest is a thoughtful and intentional way of investing in and perpetuating something valuable for generations to come. This is in the same spirit of the museum’s founders, who had the foresight to donate the land upon which the museum stands, to set aside funds for acquisition that rival few other art museums in our nation, and to establish the standard of Cleveland quality that is a distinguishing factor in everything for which the museum now strives.