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Bennington College Receives $5 Million from Frankenthaler Foundation

Bennington College announced today that it is the recipient of a $5 million gift from the New York City–based Helen Frankenthaler Foundation. The gift—which will establish the Helen Frankenthaler Fund for the Visual Arts—is the foundation’s largest single grant to date. The money will go to all parts of the Bennington’s visual arts program.

In turn, the college will name the visual-arts wing the Helen Frankenthaler Visual Arts Center in honor of the gift.

Frankenthaler studied with painter Paul Feeley at Bennington, and also took classes with everyone from Ralph Ellison to Erich Fromm. At an exhibition of artworks by Bennington graduates in 1950, she met the renowned art critic Clement Greenberg, who was instrumental in kickstarting her career.

Clifford Ross, chairman of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation board and a nephew of the artist, said, “Helen’s education at Bennington was critical to shaping her sensibility as a young artist, nurturing a spirit of risk-taking, experimentation, and inquiry that formed the basis of her creative process.”