The has announced a gift from alumnus Philip Power ('60) and his wife, Kathy, to establish a program in Inuit art.
The gift includes a collection of more than two hundred stone sculptures and prints valued at $2.5 million and $2 million to create and endow the Power Family Program for Inuit Art. The endowment initially will support guest curators, outreach programs, educational staff, and docent training. Over time, the museum will look to establish relationships with Canadian and Inuit institutions, launch student internships and/or fellowships, and support ongoing research in the field.
Captivated by the art traditions of the Canadian Arctic, Power and his father, Eugene, founded Eskimo Art, Inc., a nonprofit, in 1953 to increase awareness and appreciation of Inuit art by bringing stone carvings, prints, drawings, and pastels to the U.S. market. The enterprise was dissolved after Eugene's death in 1993, and control of the market passed into the hands of Inuits themselves.
The Powers are longtime donors to the university and have supported a variety of programs, including the , which opened in 1971 with leadership gifts from Philip and his parents; the ; the ; the ; and student publications. Philip, who in 1965 launched the HomeTown Communications Network, an award-winning group of sixty-five community newspapers, served from 1987 to 1999 on the university's board of regents and in 2006 founded the , a "think and do" tank that encourages civic engagement in policy issues.
"Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of Phil and Kathy Power, UMMA will establish itself as a national center for Inuit art," said UMMA director Christina Olsen. "Their gift will enable the museum to share the art of the Inuit people with audiences throughout the United States. The Powers' Inuit collection, one of the most important of its kind in the country, will serve as a platform for UMMA to develop a broad program of engaged learning around the artwork of the Canadian Arctic and related issues, such as climate change. We look forward to sharing this remarkable collection with the community and nation."
(Photo credit: University of Michigan Museum of Art)