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Rendering of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art’s forthcoming expansion. Design and image courtesy of VAMOS Architects.
Rendering of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art’s forthcoming expansion. Design and image courtesy of VAMOS Architects.

Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art Rebrands, Receives Major Gifts

The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in the SoHo neighborhood of New York is dropping “Gay and Lesbian” from its name, updating its mission and vision statements, and launching a capital campaign to raise $7 million to establish its first endowment fund and to create more than one thousand square feet of public space in the museum. The overhaul was revealed at the institution’s annual fall gala at the Judson Memorial Church on Tuesday, which marked the end of its fiftieth-anniversary year.

According to executive director Gonzalo Casals, the institution tweaked its name and mission in order to express a more inclusive and current conception of LGBTQ+ identity. “Make no mistake, now more than ever the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art will continue to celebrate the arts and culture of our various communities under the LGBTQ+ umbrella,” Casals said, “working with artists, scholars, cultural producers, activists and community leaders to provide a platform for the creation and exploration of our culture.”

Once the capital campaign is completed, the museum will reconfigure its interior spaces in order to add the new Learning Center for the Arts, which will boast a research library and a queer art archive that scholars, artists, and museumgoers will have access to. Currently, the museum consists of mostly gallery spaces. In order to make room for the center, which will offer educational programming and serve as a public gathering space, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art will bump its administrative offices and set them up in the building’s basement.

The institution has received $3.4 million from New York’s City Council, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Manhattan Borough President’s office in support of its plans and has generated more than $150,000 from ticket buyers, donations, and its online art auction bids at the gala, which had the theme “The Future is Queer.” Michael Manganiello, a member of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art’s board of trustees, also pledged to donate 150 artworks from his collection and to bequest $500,000 to the institution.

Commenting on the decision to contribute funding, Manhattan borough president Gale A. Brewer said: “The Leslie-Lohman Museum has become a cultural hub for the LGBTQ community at large. The dialogue provoked during a visit to this museum is priceless to the community it represents, and to New York City as a whole.”