Cranbrook Academy of Art Announces $ 30 Million Donation to Advance Diversity and Inclusion
Michiganof Cranbrook Art Academy received a $ 30 million donation from Dan and Jennifer Gilbert which ranks as the largest single gift in the history of 88 year old historic institution. This contribution is believed to be the largest ever awarded to a graduate art program in the United States.
The grant is intended to support the long-term financial health of the school while also funding several strategies that, through a press release, will help “build a more equitable and diverse community” at the Academy, which offers diplomas of ” higher education in 11 different departments, including architecture, photography, sculpture and 3D design. Some of the initiatives and efforts that will benefit the donation include:
- The new Gilbert Fellows program, which will fund 20 full scholarships for students from under-represented racial and ethnic backgrounds. The donation will also be used to establish an endowment that will fund the Gilbert Fellows program in perpetuity while supporting and augmenting the Academy’s existing scholarship fund.
- A guest artist program, focused on BIPOC artists, which will bring new faculty, in addition to current Artist-in-Residence, to Cranbrook over the next five years.
- A team of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) consultants committed to “developing and implementing plans for substantial long-term change”.
- Public engagement projects led by the Cranbrook Art Museum– to be held both on the Cranbrook campus in Bloomfield Hills and across the Detroit area – which features artists of all racial, ethnic, gender and sexual identity spectra.
The Gilberts’ largesse will also help the Cranbrook Academy of Art maintain its financial well-being through the launch of new programs, allowing the school to rely less on student tuition for funding. “This part of the Gilberts’ giveaway is dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation, allowing the Academy to develop, test and launch ideas that will generate much-needed additional income,” the statement said.
“This gift is a response to the learnings of recent years. We have listened to a large community of speakers and understand that there is a lot of work to be done, ”said Jennifer Gilbert, who is also chair of the board of governors of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum, in a statement. “Our ultimate goal is to foster sustainable financial stability while creating a more diverse and equitable community. We know this is not a quick fix, but a step in the right direction. Dan and I hope the donation will give the Academy a space to develop long-term solutions and encourage others to join us in giving.
Jennifer Gilbert is an interior designer trained at Michigan State University who is the founder and creative director of the Detroit-based commercial design studio. POPHOUSE. She is also the founder of Amber Engine, a furnishing technology services and solutions company. Her husband Dan Gilbert is an investor and businessman who, among other things, is the majority owner of the The Cleveland Cavaliers and co-founder and chairman of Quicken Loans. Gilbert’s holding company, Rock Ventures, has an extensive portfolio of casinos, sports franchises, technology companies, financial services companies, and real estate investment and development entities. (Rock Ventures owns a significant number of iconic Detroit buildings, including the Savoyard Center, Chrysler House, Book Tower, and LB King and Company building.)
Founded in 1932 by George and Ellen Scripps Booth, the Cranbrook Academy of Art is one of six institutions that make up the educational community of Cranbrook, listed as a National Historic Landmark. (CEC), which itself was founded in 1904. Today, the 319-acre Oakland County complex is home to the Academy of Art and its affiliated contemporary art museum, the Cranbrook Schools (a preparatory school for the Kindergarten to Grade 12), the Cranbrook Institute of Science, the Center for Collections & Research, and the project designed by Albert Kahn Cranbrook House and Gardens (1908), a majestic Arts and Crafts-style stack that ranks as the oldest surviving mansion in the Detroit subway.
CEC’s largest campus was planned and designed by Finno-American architect Eliel Saarinen, who also served as inaugural president of the Academy of Arts (1932–1946) and head of the Department of Architecture and Urban Design (1932-1950). In recent years, architects including Rafael Moneo, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, and Stephen holl designed new buildings and additions to the CEC campus.
As detailed by A last month, the Department of Architecture stop new admissions from autumn 2021 before a major retooling of the program.
In a statement, Dominic DiMarco, president of the Cranbrook Educational Community, noted that Saarinen “… saw the Cranbrook Academy of Art as a creative utopia, believing that the best way for artists to learn was from each other. . We still believe in this vision and fostering a diverse and inclusive community is essential to its pursuit.
Eliel Saarinen’s son, Eero Saarinen, is one of the notable alumni of the Cranbrook Academy of Art who have distinguished themselves in the field of architecture and design. Charles and Ray Eames (the iconic designer duo met at Cranbrook), Florence knoll, Peter Bohlin, Jack Lenor Larsen, Ed Fella, Harry Bertoia and Hani Rashid are just a few others. The Academy has also produced a large number of famous artists working in a range of mediums including Barbara Cooper, Shiva Ahmadi, Duane Hanson, Sonya Clark and Nick cave.
The Chicago-based Cave, which graduated from the Fiber department in 1988, said in a statement:
“Cranbrook has been extremely important to me in the development of my work, but has struggled with the lack of diversity on campus. Detroit became just as important, though opposed, as a way to balance my life around this time. Operating in the world with multiple perspectives is essential, especially during graduate school in order to truly explore the depth of your work and learn how others can receive it. Today, this idea of seeing and hearing through multiple lenses and different perspectives is more important than ever, and this gift is a powerful way to facilitate those connections and inevitable advancements.