Dr. Patricia McDonnell American Art Endowment

Dr. Patricia McDonnell American Art Endowment

Group of people, from left, man in profile with fringe of white hair and brown-framed glasses, center, man with sand colored hair, dressed in brightly colored shirt, on left, woman with short white hair and dressed in red with name tag Patricia McDonnell

Patricia McDonnell at the Murdock Society Christmas Party in 2017

For 87 years, WAM has delivered energetic and thoughtful art experiences in Wichita. WAM has benefited the past ten years from the strong leadership of Director Dr. Patricia McDonnell, and she announced her retirement in late spring 2022.

“A transformation has occurred at WAM the past ten years, and Patricia had the energy and vision to lead that transformation,” said Martha Linsner, Chair of the WAM Board of Trustees. “This museum has never been more active or more welcoming and inclusive, and we have Patricia to thank for these achievements.”

WAM’s Board of Trustees, led by the last six Board Chairs, now start a campaign to honor this moment at WAM and establish the Dr. Patricia McDonnell American Art Endowment. WAM is devoted to American art, and Patricia is a nationally recognized scholar of early American modernism. An endowment for American art at WAM assures our vibrancy for coming generations, while it conveys lasting respect to an exceptional director.

Please join WAM with a contribution to assure the dynamism that animates WAM today continues for generations to come.

To make a gift or for questions, contact Kourtney Carson, Director of Development at carson@wam.org or 316-268-4905.

Thanks to a matching gift challenge from a generous donor through the Wichita Community Foundation, your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar to $115,000.

Please join WAM with a contribution to assure the dynamism that animates WAM today continues for generations to come.

Highlights of Patricia's Leadership

Five adults stand together in a line in the Boeing Foyer smiling at the camera

From left: Artist Tom Otterness, WAM Director Dr. Patricia McDonnell, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Director Rod Bigelow, and WAM Board Members Toni Gates and Martie Walke

During Patricia’s WAM tenure, achievements include:

■ Attendance increasing by more than 60 percent,
■ Expanded public programs growing by 100 percent,
■ Membership rising by 140 percent,
■ Creating the Art Garden in 2015, a $3.3 million project on the museum’s eight acres,
■ Bringing blockbuster exhibitions to Wichita,
■ Expanding the art collection by one third,
■ Adding the new, iconic entry commission by artist Beth Lipman,
■ Doubling annual gift income and increasing long-term resources by $9 million.