ArtNews: With $12 M. Donation, Michigan’s Muskegon Museum Will Look to Build Wing Dedicated to Women Artists

by Steven Alan Bennett & Elaine Melotti Schmidt | 06.10.22

Thank you to Tessa Solomon and ArtNews for sharing the news of The Bennett Collection gift to the Muskegon Museum of Art.


The state of Michigan is shaped like a hand, and swaddled by two Great Lakes: Huron to the East and Lake Michigan to the West. The latter breaches the state via the estuary Muskegon Lake. Viewed from above, the town of Muskegon is a pin on a great blue expanse. And a pin on a pin, situated along the riverbank, is the Muskegon Museum of Art. It’s a mid-size institution founded in 1912 and counts around 5,000 artworks in its collection.

In a true Midwestern fashion, its director Kirk Hallman avoids grand language about the museum’s ambition. But there are big things brewing at the MMA. It will be home to one of the country’s few permanent museum exhibition spaces dedicated to female-identifying artists, thanks to a major donation from San Antonio–based collectors Steven Alan Bennett and Elaine Melotti Schmidt. Totaling $12 million, their gift includes more than 150 paintings from some 115 artists, and $1.5 million in cash to build a new museum wing for work by women artists.


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