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.