October 21, 2019 (Detroit) -- The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is announcing Phase II of its campaign to raise endowment funds with $4 million in gifts from two members of the museum’s Board of Directors. Board Chair Eugene A. Gargaro and his wife Mary Anne donated $1 million to the endowment and $3 million was given by Padma and Raj Vattikuti and family.

These gifts bring the museum’s unrestricted operating endowment to $232 million, up from $91 million in 2012. The Phase II goal is to reach $400 million, which will enable the DIA to continue to provide educational experiences for tens of thousands of children each year, remain a destination for history and cultural experiences for the region, and maintain its status as one of the top museums in the country.

“Not only am I incredibly grateful for these generous gifts from the Vattikutis and the Gargaros, but I am also personally humbled that both have chosen to express such confidence in the future of this institution,” said Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA Director. “The future of the DIA starts now, and I am certain that these gifts will be critical in inspiring diverse communities to learn how they can engage with and support the museum as a welcoming place for all visitors.”

Gargaro has been Chairman of the DIA’s Board of Directors for nearly 20 years, leading the museum through the 2007 reinstallation, the 2012 millage campaign, the Detroit’s bankruptcy and the Grand Bargain in 2014, and now, the launch of a new phase in its fundraising. The Gargaros have been museum members for more than thirty years, currently supporting the museum at the Society of Associates level, the DIA’s highest category of annual membership. They are actively involved in several museum auxiliaries, and have generously supported the DIA’s major fundraising campaigns, with a gallery named in their honor.

Padma Vattikuti is a member of the DIA’s Board of Directors, and she and her husband are avid art collectors, with a special interest in Indian, Southeast Asian and contemporary art. Their gift will be recognized by naming the DIA’s Indian Galleries in their honor. Vattikuti, who was born in India, is co-founder of the Vattikuti Foundation, which serves communities in southeastern Michigan, as well as causes in India and other parts of the world. She has served on the boards of Wayne State University’s Merrill Palmer Institute, Red Cross Southeastern Michigan Chapter, Michigan Asian Business Council, Pérez Art Museum Miami and as a member of the DIA auxiliary group Asian and Islamic Art Forum, now known as the Friends of Asian Arts and Culture. 

As part of the development of the DIA’s new Asian Galleries, the museum initiated comprehensive outreach to the region’s Asian communities, in an effort to build connections that would result in long-term relationships with the DIA. These engagements included consultation on the galleries’ themes, providing input on art acquisitions, community dinners, dedicated programming in celebration of the galleries and more.

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. The DIA’s mission is to create opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.

Programs are made possible with support from residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.