The Museum of Art is excited to announce a recent gift by George A. Westerberg ’59 to create a special fund for the acquisition of new works of contemporary art. Acquisitions are the lifeblood of museums, and contemporary art is an area of special interest to the Museum.
Westerberg was an art history major at Bowdoin before embarking on a long career as an Episcopal minister. He was prompted to establish a charitable gift annuity with Bowdoin after learning about the collection of contemporary art that Dorothy and Herbert Vogel—a former librarian and postal worker, respectively—presented to the Museum in 2013. As George recently explained, “their ability to acquire such an impressive art collection with limited financial resources was truly amazing. But that does not impress me as much as their generosity and intuitive discernment skills. Though I gained an ‘undergraduate’ appreciation of art, from a very good college, the Vogels so far transcend my own art appreciation and critical skill, that I am truly humbled. When I first caught glimpses of their gift to Bowdoin, I thought, ‘WOW! I wish I could have done that.’ As I continued to think about it over successive weeks and months, I realized that I can do something.”
Westerberg’s gift will be used to expand the Museum’s collection of contemporary art. Taking advantage of his generous contribution, and with the input of faculty and students, the Museum’s staff looks forward to realizing new acquisitions by important emerging artists. While Westerberg did not have a career in art history, he was always glad to have made it his major. “Art has been a constant companion in my life, and always a resource of both imaginative and critical thinking. My four years at Bowdoin allowed for that to happen, and I am pleased to be able to personalize my gratitude.”
Museums are collections not only of art, but also of people. Like many others before him, Westerberg is helping to enrich the Museum’s collection and to inspire those who visit it. We are very grateful for this generous gift.