The Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced on Tuesday that it has exceeded the $750-million goal it set for its fundraising campaign for a new building — the David Geffen Galleries, designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor.
Earlier this year, the museum announced that it had hit the $736 million mark, making its fundraising endeavor 98% complete. Reaching its final goal has been a long road for LACMA, which received its most significant early gift of $150 million from entertainment heavyweight David Geffen in 2017. A year before that, casino and hotel owner Elaine Wynn, who is also co-chair of LACMA’s board of trustees, gave $50 million.
In 2020, the campaign stood at $655 million; in November 2021, the campaign had reached $679 million.
The latest announcement that fundraising is complete noted that construction is over 65% complete, spanning Wilshire Boulevard. Among significant contributions that pushed the campaign past the finish line was a gift from LACMA trustee Steve Tisch, who is listed as making a contribution of $20 million or more.
“We have reached this milestone thanks to the generosity and hard work of so many people,” LACMA CEO Michael Govan said in a statement. “We offer heartfelt thanks to all those who propelled us to this achievement — from our trustees to first-time donors — and to LACMA’s countless supporters from every part of Los Angeles. The David Geffen Galleries will not only be a sublime new home for LACMA’s collections, but a testament to a remarkable wellspring of civic pride and an incredible gift to Los Angeles.”
The new building is scheduled to be completed late next year, and 20% of its funding comes from the County of Los Angeles as part of a public-private partnership.
The plan has been controversial almost from the start. In 2019, Times art critic Christopher Knight lamented that the construction plan “radically downsized” the existing campus. Its design has also been criticized.
The latest LACMA release notes that the new design will create 3.5 acres of new outdoor space for public sculpture, outdoor programming, events and education.