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William Smith Pledges Second Major Gift to Detroit Institute of Arts Longtime supporter gives $2 million in remembrance of wife, Patricia

Thursday, October 08, 2009

October 8, 2009 (Detroit)—William Smith, former owner of Allied Film & Video in Detroit, has once again demonstrated his commitment and love for the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) by making a second $2 million donation to the museum. The gift is in commemoration of his wife, Patricia (Patsy), and will be used for museum operations.

Smith, an honorary board member and longtime supporter of the DIA’s Detroit Film Theatre (DFT), donated $2 million in December 2006 in support of the DFT’s exquisite 1927 theater, and its lobby is named in William and Patricia Smith’s honor. To commemorate his latest gift, the elegant Crystal Gallery, on the balcony level of the theater, will be named for the Smiths.

“Bill’s incredibly generous gift could not have come at a better time,” said Eugene A. Gargaro, chairman of the board of directors. “It not only helps the museum financially but also gives us a proverbial shot-in-the-arm. In these difficult economic times, it is heartening to receive such an unwavering vote of confidence in the museum and its importance to the community. We are very grateful to Bill.”

In the 1960s, Smith located his company, Allied Film & Video, a leader in the production of training films, on Woodward Avenue in Detroit because he believed it was important to strengthen the business core of the city. Smith regularly invited clients and colleagues to lunch at the DIA, where they were impressed with the museum’s grandeur and its collection.      

The Smiths have passed their values of hard work, personal goal-setting, high standards, and giving back to the community onto their three children, who are thrilled to be part of their father’s decision to commemorate their mother through a gift that benefits the museum and the educational opportunities it offers. Smith said Patsy, known for her intellectual curiosity, active role in civil affairs and passion for the arts, would be pleased that her family has found a way to deepen her legacy in the community.

The DIA will host a private event to honor Smith and his family on Monday, Oct. 19 at 5:30 p.m. Media are welcome to cover the event.


The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range, and depth.

Programs are made possible with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the City of Detroit.