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Charlotte Philanthropists Bequest Provides $5 Million for The Mi

Charlotte Philanthropists Bequest Provides $5 Million for The Mint Museum

June 14, 2009

The Mint Museum will benefit from a $5.169 million bequest from the estate of longtime Mint member and supporter Nancy Akers Wallace, executive director Phil Kline announced today.

The Mint Museum will benefit from a $5.169 million bequest from the estate of longtime Mint member and supporter Nancy Akers Wallace, executive director Phil Kline announced today. 

In recognition of this exceptional gift, the dramatic atrium of the Mint Museum of Art on Randolph Road will be renamed the Nancy A. & J. Mason Wallace Atrium in memory of the donor and her husband.

“We are deeply touched by Nancy’s vision and generosity,” said Kline. “She believed in the importance of sharing art with the community she and Mason loved so much. She made this extraordinary gift from her steadfast conviction that The Mint Museum plays a vital role in enhancing Charlotte’s quality of life.”

The largest bequest in the Museum’s history, this unrestricted endowment gift will support the Museum’s expansion initiative, as well as provide support for the institution’s ongoing operations. The expansion includes the opening of a new facility in Center City Charlotte in 2010 to house collections of contemporary art, American art, and contemporary craft and design. The Mint Museum of Art will undergo a major renovation, including a complete reinstallation of its galleries to provide a more comprehensive and engaging experience. Visitors will see a dramatic reorganization of the collections of ceramics, historic costume and fashionable dress, and art of the ancient Americas.

“Nancy and Mason Wallace were caring citizens of our community,” said Stacy Sumner Jesso, Director of Development. “This endowment gift comes at a critical time and will make an enormous difference in allowing us to exhibit more of our collections and offer new educational resources. Through the Wallaces’ generosity, the Mint will continue to provide inspiring art experiences to our visitors for decades to come. We are honored to name the Museum’s atrium in their memory.”

Born in Charlotte in 1919, Nancy Akers Wallace was an active community member, devoted mother and wife, and quiet philanthropist. A graduate of Duke University, she worked as an inspector at the U.S. Navy Shell plant in Charlotte during World War II. In 1946 she married J. Mason Wallace, her best friend and the love of her life.

During her lifetime, Mrs. Wallace was a committed volunteer and member of several community organizations, including the Junior League of Charlotte, Sardis Presbyterian Church and the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. Both she and her husband were avid hikers and helped maintain sections of the Appalachian Trail. A longtime supporter of The Mint Museum, she was also an accomplished watercolorist and honed her creative talents through art classes at the Mint. Mrs. Wallace passed away in 2006, and was survived by her four children, eight grandchildren and husband. Her estate released the gift to The Mint Museum after Mason Wallace’s passing in 2008. The Mint Museum is deeply grateful for this generous gift benefiting the Charlotte community.

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