- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The St. Louis Art Museum says a $21 million donation will allow it to find top-tier leaders in the future.

The museum announced Monday that Barbara and Andy Taylor donated the $21 million to endow the museum’s directorship, effective Jan. 1. Barbara Taylor is the former president of the Art Museum board and her husband is executive chairman of Enterprise Holdings.

Barbara Taylor announced the donation at one of her last meetings as president of the art museum board.

The couple has previously donated $15 million to the museum.

Museum Director Brent Benjamin says the latest gift will allow the museum to compete in international searches for leaders.



“It really makes it possible for the museum to have the person it wants to have in this position,” Benjamin says.

The museum will annually take a percentage from the donated funds to pay for the director’s salary and benefits. Excess funds will go toward museum operations.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (https://bit.ly/1KaWLKX ) that it is becoming increasingly expensive to hire leaders at US museums and many museums in the country rely on endowed directorships.

Benjamin says art museums in Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Boston have endowed directorships.

Christine Anagnos, executive director of the Association of Art Museum Directors, says that while endowed directorships are becoming “increasingly common,” the $21 million donation from the Taylors is still substantial.

“It’s an extraordinary gift for the museum and the community it serves,” she said.

This summer, the Taylors donated $92.5 million to 13 cultural institutions and charities, including $30 million to Forest Park Forever, the nonprofit organization that shares management and maintenance of St. Louis’ largest park.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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