Rendering of the Benton Museum of Art. Photo: Pomona College.

Pomona College Gifted $15 Million for New Art Museum

Pomona College in Claremont, California, has received a $15 million donation in support of the construction of a new art museum. In recognition of the gift, the college revealed that the 33,000-square-foot institution, which will replace the school’s existing museum, will be named after the donor, alumna Janet Inskeep Benton.

Opening in fall 2020, the Benton Museum of Art will be built where the campus meets Claremont Village and the city’s civic center. Designed by Machado Silvetti Associates and Gensler, the $44 million institution was conceived and designed as a teaching museum and will provide state-of-the-art storage for its permanent collection of more than 14,000 objects.

“Art is a powerful force, opening up the mind to so many possibilities—new ideas, varied perspectives, interesting questions, emotional responses, reconsidered thinking,” said Benton, a longtime supporter of the arts and a college trustee. “My hope is that the new museum creates a stimulating environment for students to explore and engage with art in a deeply meaningful way.”

Exhibitions at the existing Pomona College Museum of Art, which is housed in a 1950s-era facility, will be staged through May 2020. The Benton will continue the current museum’s “Project Series,” which has focused on contemporary Southern California artists such as Andrea Bowers, Mark Bradford, Charles Gaines, Ken Gonzales-Day, and Amanda Ross-Ho, after it shutters. 

“Pomona College has long been at the center of artistic excellence and experimentation for Southern California,” said museum director and professor Kathleen Howe. “The Benton continues our commitment to presenting vibrant contemporary art, intimately engaged with the issues of our day, while bringing the art of the past into an ongoing dialogue with the present.”