The Taft Museum of Art has received a $5 million gift from the late Sallie Robinson Wadsworth to endow the museum’s lead curatorial position.
The position will be held by Lynne D. Ambrosini, Ph.D., current director of curatorial affairs and chief curator. Her new title will be Deputy Director and the Sallie Robinson Wadsworth Chief Curator.
“I am deeply grateful to Sallie Robinson Wadsworth for her extremely generous gift to secure the chief curator position at the Taft Museum of Art in perpetuity,” said Louise Taft Semple President/CEO Deborah Emont Scott, who announced the endowment. “The gift will continue to honor Sallie’s legacy in the Greater Cincinnati community.”
The endowment will ensure that self-organized exhibitions that advance scholarship are a priority for the Taft Museum of Art. It will allow Ambrosini to dedicate a significant percentage of her time to research and to producing Taft-organized exhibitions and publications.
An assistant curator, who will aid in exhibitions and curatorial work, will also be hired, bringing the curatorial department to four people.
“[Wadsworth] came to personify enlightened philanthropy in Cincinnati…her presence has been inspirational to me and to my predecessors.”“I am deeply honored to carry the new title that bears Sallie Robinson Wadsworth’s name,” said Ambrosini, who has been at the Taft since 2004. “Over the past decades, she came to personify enlightened philanthropy in Cincinnati. Committed to advancing knowledge of the arts, Sallie combined immense generosity with a rare understanding of the role of scholarship in curatorial work; her presence has been inspirational to me and to my predecessors.”
Wadsworth supported the Taft with meaningful gifts throughout her life with special emphasis on scholarship and exhibitions. In 2013, the Sallie Robinson Wadsworth Endowment for Exhibitions was developed as part of the Taft’s successful $12 million endowment campaign. Most recently, she and her husband, Randolph, supported the Taft’s first self-organized international exhibition, “Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape,” and the research that informed the exhibition, as well as the associated catalogue and symposium. Her mother, Margaret Robinson, was also an avid supporter and patron of the Taft.
Wadsworth grew up in Cincinnati, attended Walnut Hills High School, and earned her degree from Smith College. She was a member of the first docent class of Taft Museum of Art, 1971-1972 and served as a board member of the museum from 1985 until 2015.
Current Taft board chair Gerry Greene said, “Sallie’s passion, curiosity, and her philanthropic spirit inspired each and every one of us. We are thrilled that this gift will provide a substantial foundation for our continued success.”
Wadsworth passed away peacefully on Nov. 22, 2017. A celebration of her life was held Jan. 5 at the Taft.