Building Tomorrow’s Farnsworth: Current Fundraising Priorities

Designed to strengthen and sustain the Farnsworth while preparing for continued growth and innovation, the Building Tomorrow’s Campaign was adopted unanimously in 2017 by the Farnsworth board of directors. Envisioned as a five-year initiative with a goal of $12 million by 2022, the campaign recently crested the $10 million mark thanks to the support of current and former board members and other close donors. 

The majority of funds raised to date have been invested in our endowment and to pay legacy debts that impede cash flow. High-priority capital improvements will enhance the three-plus-acre campus and the visitor experience. Donor dollars were also leveraged to enhance the use of technology, expand the museum’s audience, and for marketing and staff development. 

Campaign leadership now reaffirms our final set of priorities and invites you to join us with an undesignated gift to the campaign or to an area of particular interest. Your support ensures the Farnsworth’s present stability and bright future.

Create a Capital Reserves, $1,000,000. Crafting a transformational experience for each and every visitor requires a lot of behind-the-scenes coordination and infrastructure. A new master plan and energy audit is shaping a planned revitalization of the campus. Our aging campus, however, sometimes has a mind of its own and maintenance issues arise periodically and always at the worst time. A capital reserve will allow us to respond immediately to critical fire safety, security, HVAC, and energy management issues while building a sustainable campus. 

Establishing a Strategic Director’s Opportunity Fund, $500,000. Collaborations with sister institutions that create new synergies and shared visitor experiences. Negotiating the loan of important works of art from other museums that draw visitors and help us better tell our story. Arming museum educators with technology to reach school-age children remotely during a pandemic and in its aftermath. The Fund will provide unbudgeted capital to allow us to try new things, take advantage of changing trends and market shifts, and to invest in extraordinary projects with the potential to transform our organization and our community. 

Exhibition Development Fund, $400,000. Farnsworth exhibitions bring the art of Maine to a national stage and the art of the world to midcoast Maine. Planning years ahead, the curatorial team ensures high-quality, engaging exhibitions by bringing touring exhibitions that relate to the museum’s mission to Maine and by monetizing our exhibitions by licensing them to other venues across the country. Over the years, the Farnsworth has introduced millions of people to the role Maine has played in the history and development of American art. The Exhibition Development Fund provides reliable funding to prepare and mount current exhibitions as well as seed R&D—securing touring exhibitions and loans of artworks, paying stipends for guest curators and scholarly researchers, and allowing our curatorial team to travel and research new topics that enhance the canons of American art.  

Collections Care, $455,000. The proper care and safekeeping of the Farnsworth’s priceless collection is paramount to the museum’s stewardship mandate. Our collection storage areas are outdated and dysfunctional. Modern storage systems will increase our capacity by 30% and make our nationally known collection more accessible. While collection storage is hidden from public view, it is essential to the day-to-day operations of the museum.

75 Works for our 75th Anniversary, $ priceless. A recent bequest from the estate of Betsy Wyeth of 27 major works by N.C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth is launching an effort to acquire new works for the collection to celebrate the Farnsworth’s anniversary in 2023. Like most of its peer institutions, soaring prices for art means that we rely on gifts from collectors and patrons. A long-range collecting plan will identify and fill gaps in our collection and broaden our ability to tell richer and more in-depth stories of Maine’s role in American art. The museum has a detailed process for accepting gifts of art. We invite you to learn more if you are interested in donating to the museum in this way. 

Maine Art Now, $425,000. The Farnsworth Art Museum plays an integral role in enhancing Maine’s creative economy and telling the stories of the state’s prolific and prodigious artists. Within that rich artistic tradition, the Farnsworth seeks to increase its curatorial focus on contemporary art to broaden and diversify its impact for the twenty-first century. Private support will allow us to hire guest curators, with a goal of producing three contemporary art exhibitions over the next three years.

To be a national leader among American museums, we must take our programs and physical assets to the next level. We hope you will join us in our campaign to secure the Farnsworth’s future. Please contact Chief Advancement Officer Ann Scheflen at for more information.

The Farnsworth Art Museum's Campaign Case for Support
Click on the image to view the Farnsworth Art Museum’s Campaign Case for Support