NEW YORK – Robert Storr, Dean of the Yale School of Art, welcomed guests at the Edgewood Gallery on May 1 for a celebration of the university’s relationship with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
Andreas Dracopoulos, SNF Co-President, noted that the event, which formally recognized the Foundation’s $5 million donation in February, 2014, was a “new and important chapter in the relationship between our Foundation and Yale University.”
According to Yale, “A second gift of $900,000 will supplement three existing endowments for the school that were created by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in 2010; to establish an artist’s residency; fund scholarships for international students; and create a dean’s resource fund.”
Dracopoulos also noted that the occasion was an opportunity to “reflect upon and recognize what has been a long and very productive relationship between our two institutions.”
During the past decade SNF’ contributions to Yale total nearly $14 million
The 2014 grant creates a permanent, unrestricted endowment that will support core priorities of the Yale School of Art, while naming in perpetuity the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Dean.
During his brief remarks Dracopoulos noted that “We are very proud of the fact that our support helped establish the SNF Center for Hellenic Studies at Yale, one of the premier centers for the study of Modern Greek Culture in North America.” He added that “it is important to recognize and thank professors John Geanakoplos, Stathis Kalyvas and George Syrimis for their important contributions,” to the Center.
Among the guests representing the Greek-American community were Antonis H. Diamataris, publisher of The National Herald, and Antonis Argyrides.
SNF has also supported the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, Yale College scholarships, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, and the Yale Child Study Center.
The relationship with Yale is fundamental to SNF’s mission because, as Dracopoulos noted “We are an international foundation. Since 1996 we have approved 2676 grans to 110 countries worldwide, committing over $ 1.4 billion in total.”
Both Dracopoulos and Storr also emphasized SNF’s strong ties to Greece, highlighting extraordinary initiatives founded on two $100 million donations, one for humanitarian relief for the people of Greece s and one specifically for addressing the crucial issue of devastating Greek youth unemployment.
Dracopoulos placed the Yale School of Art donations in the context of the “increased emphasis on creativity,” which he said “is closely related to prosperity and growth…our support of the SNF Cultural Center in Athens…signifies our commitment to and investment in creative assets and explains…our investment in the Yale School of Art. “
Turning to Dean Storrs, Dracopoulos said “The human element always plays a critical role in our decisions to provide support…our commitment to Yale and the School of Art is also a commitment to Dean Robert Storr, the academic, the intellectual, the teacher, the human being, the artist.”
Storr thanks Dracopoulos and the SNF amd said the gifts will “provide a permanent source of flexible funding that will help the school sustain its innovative teaching and practice at the forefront of art and art education.”
The foundation’s gift will allow the dean to direct funds to key areas such as financial aid, faculty support, teaching, and exhibitions, “to keep things innovative and fun,” he said.
The grants will support visiting artists from all over the world and will help convey the message that “we are not living in a globalized world…it is still a heterogeneous world and that cosmopolitanism is our goal, not, homogenization.”
He then pointed out the current exhibit of the earthy and evocative paintings of Lynette Yiadom Boakye, whose roots are in Ghana, which surrounded the guests in the gallery and noted that was funded by the foundation.
Storr was pleased to be able to introduce one of the beneficiaries of the donation, Nonstikelelo Mutiti, a young graphic designer from Zimbabwe. She told TNH she had the privilege of being taught in her youth by Helen Laras, a Greek gallery owner who supported and encouraged young artists.
Storr’s wife, Rosamund Morley, who performs on string instruments for an early music group called Parthenia, enjoyed the reception. She and Storr said they wer looking forward to their first trip to Greece and appreciated the travel tips they received that night.