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David Rubenstein Donates $5.4 Million to Renwick Gallery

The gift will help fund the first major renovation of the building in more than four decades.

Photograph by Flickr user Valerie.

Art-loving Washingtonians now have one more reason to thank David Rubenstein: The billionaire businessman and philanthropist has donated $5.4 million to the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, the museum announced Monday. 

The gallery has been closed since December 9 for a complete overhaul—the first in 45 years—that will upgrade electrical, plumbing, and heating/cooling systems, add wireless access throughout the building, and restore two vaulted ceilings in the second-level galleries, among other improvements. The $30 million project comprises 50 percent public funding and 50 percent private; Rubenstein’s gift completes the private fundraising goal. To honor the contribution, the museum’s Grand Salon will be named after Rubenstein. 

Rubenstein’s other recent contributions to local arts and historic facilities include a $4.5 million donation to the National Zoo’s giant panda program in 2011, a $7.5 million donation in 2012 to help repair the Washington Monument, and a $50 million gift last January to help the Kennedy Center fund a planned $100 million expansion

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