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Nasher Museum of Art 2010 Benefit Gala

The Nasher Museum of Art will hold a benefit gala on November 13, 2010, for the inaugural presentation of the Mary D.B.T. Semans Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts, to Dr. Lawrence J. Wheeler and celebrate the Nasher Museum’s fifth anniversary.

Help honor Larry Wheeler or recognize the Nasher Museum with your support of Vanguards & Visionaries, the Nasher Museum benefit gala. Proceeds will support the Nasher Museum’s education and exhibition programs.

The Mary D.B.T. Semans Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts
Named in honor of Mary D.B.T. Semans, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University presents the inaugural Mary D.B.T. Semans Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts, to honor the vision and leadership of North Carolina’s most passionate advocates for the arts.

Mary D.B.T. Semans, with her husband Dr. James H. Semans, has transformed the arts at Duke, in Durham and across the state. Without her, the arts at Duke and beyond would not be as vibrant, as strong or as exciting. Over generations, she has tirelessly emphasized the importance of art as part of the essence of human experience, and the need for spaces that provide direct experiences with original works of art. As a trustee of Duke University, she was an advocate for an art museum on campus, and worked closely with Raymond D. Nasher to establish the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

Dr. Lawrence J. Wheeler
Dr. Lawrence J. Wheeler has been director of the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) since October 1994. During his tenure, the NCMA has become one of the region’s and the nation’s most popular and dynamic centers for the visual and performing arts. Blockbuster exhibitions, including “Rodin: Sculpture from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation” (2000) and “Monet in Normandy” (2006), have attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to the NCMA from across the nation and around the world. Under Wheeler’s leadership, the NCMA expanded in April with a new 127,000 square foot building to house the institution’s outstanding permanent collection with numerous new acquisitions.

In December 2000, Wheeler was named Tar Heel of the Year by the Raleigh News and Observer, which called him “the godfather of the Triangle’s cultural boom” and cited his skill at melding “arts, politics and commerce into a powerful new cultural force.” Recent awards include the Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters from the Republic of France, the Medal of Arts from the city of Raleigh, the Legacy Leadership Award from The Triangle Business Journal, the Design Guild Award from the North Carolina State University College of Design, and the Thad Eure Memorial Award from the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau. In 2007, Wheeler accepted the Attraction of the Year Award from the North Carolina Travel Industry Association in recognition of the 214,000 visitors who attended the 2006/2007 “Monet” exhibition. Wheeler grew up in Lakeland, Florida. He holds B.A. degrees in History and French from Pfeiffer College, and both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in European history from the University of Georgia.

The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University fosters the understanding and appreciation of the visual arts by providing direct experiences with original works of art supported by a range of exhibitions, programs and publications for the university and the broader community. The museum draws on the intellectual resources of a great research university and serves as a laboratory of the arts dedicated to multidisciplinary approaches to learning. These strategies make the Nasher at Duke a unique cornerstone of the arts for Duke University, Durham and the Triangle community, the State of North Carolina and the greater Southeast region.

Renowned architect Rafael Viñoly designed the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, which opened in October 2005. The museum is a major new center for the arts on campus and in the Research Triangle area, with leading-edge art exhibitions and dynamic programs, including Family Days, performing arts events, lectures, film series and social gatherings. The 65,000-square-foot building houses three large gallery spaces, a museum store, university and community classrooms and Nasher Museum Café with indoor and outdoor seating overlooking sculpture gardens.

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