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Preston Haskell gives $5 million to MOCA Jacksonville endowment

Preston Haskell gives $5 million to MOCA Jacksonville endowment

January 20, 2015 // by Denise M. Reagan

The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, a cultural institute of the University of North Florida, announced Tuesday that Preston H. Haskell is giving $5 million to the Museum's endowment. This historically significant gift validates the vital role the Museum plays in the community and lays a foundation to ensure MOCA Jacksonville continues to be a thriving resource for future generations.

Cultural institutions play an important role in creating a vibrant and engaged community. For any organization to have a sustained impact, it must have a healthy and right-sized endowment. This gift is an inspiring vote of confidence and a first step toward MOCA Jacksonville achieving this goal.

Haskell said his gift is meant to help launch a new phase in the life of MOCA Jacksonville by inspiring similar philanthropy to build the Museum's endowment and sustain future programming.

Preston Haskell speaks at endowment news conference
Preston Haskell prepares to speak at the news conference announcing his $5 million gift to the MOCA Jacksonville endowment. Image courtesy of Thomas Hager.

“I am delighted to have this opportunity to support this institution, for which I have such admiration and affection, in the creation of a meaningful endowment fund. Such a fund will complement and nourish the Museum's collections, exhibitions, and educational programs, all which have grown so successfully under Marcelle Polednik's superb leadership of the past four years. I hope that others will join me in this initiative, which is so important to MOCA Jacksonville's continued growth and financial security,” Haskell said.

This is one of the single largest gifts from an individual contributor to a cultural organization in the history of Jacksonville. The gift has no restrictions.

Haskell is the founder of integrated design-build firm The Haskell Company and a former chair of the MOCA Jacksonville Board of Trustees. He currently serves as trustee emeritus, and his daughter Sally Singletary is a member of the Board of Trustees. Haskell's long-term support of MOCA Jacksonville mirrors his commitment to the Museum's mission to promote the discovery, knowledge, and advancement of the art, artists, and ideas of our time.

That mission is reflected in MOCA Jacksonville's self-curated exhibitions, such as WHITE, opening to the public on January 24. MOCA Jacksonville is unique in Northeast Florida not only for its emphasis on contemporary art-that is, artists living and producing art today-but also for the significant resources it dedicates to crafting singular exhibitions and programs. The Museum's staff originates and implements the vast majority of its exhibitions each year, showcasing emerging artists and exhibitions that present significant contributions to the scholarship of contemporary art.

Marcelle Polednik speaks at endowment announcement
Marcelle Polednik addresses the audience in the Haskell Atrium Gallery where Angela Strassheim's Project Atrium exhibition is on display. Image courtesy of Thomas Hager.
Mayor Alvin Brown at endowment announcement
Mayor Alvin Brown welcomes the audience. Image courtesy of Thomas Hager.
Margaret Gellatly at endowment announcement
MOCA Jacksonville Board of Trustees Chair Margaret Gellatly thanks Haskell for his generous support. Image courtesy of Thomas Hager.

MOCA Jacksonville endeavors to build its Permanent Collection with significant depth and quality to be used for study, scholarly research, and exhibition-all tools that foster an education, awareness, and experience with contemporary visual art. All MOCA Jacksonville exhibitions are accompanied by a full range of educational opportunities for families, children, and adults through innovative public programs including opportunities to ask living artists about their work.

The exceptional caliber of these offerings has earned nationwide respect for MOCA Jacksonville and Northeast Florida.

Haskell's support has helped MOCA Jacksonville execute these initiatives. His gift to the endowment will help make them possible for future generations.

“We are honored and inspired by Mr. Haskell's commitment to MOCA Jacksonville's vision and to sustaining its indelible impact as a center of artistic and educational excellence. This gift is both a significant measure of confidence in MOCA's organizational capacity and maturity as well as a catalyst for the future growth of the Museum's strides toward lasting sustainability,” said Polednik, director and chief curator of MOCA Jacksonville.

John Delaney Marcelle Polednik Preston Haskell
UNF President John Delaney, MOCA Jacksonville Director and Chief Curator Marcelle Polednik, and Preston Haskell lead the news conference announcing Haskell's $5 million gift to the Museum's endowment. Image courtesy of Thomas Hager.

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