NOMA Establishes The Sydney Besthoff Legacy Award

NEW ORLEANS – In celebration of Sydney Besthoff’s 90th birthday, the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) announced the establishment of The Sydney Besthoff Legacy Award, or “The Sydney.” Given once every several years, “The Sydney” honors individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the visual arts.

         Sydney Besthoff, the first-ever recipient of The Sydney Besthoff Legacy Award, epitomizes devotion to supporting art and culture in New Orleans, as evident through his service in a variety of leadership capacities at NOMA over nearly three decades, museum reps said. Serving on the executive committee since he was first appointed to NOMA’s board of trustees in 1992, Besthoff has served as president, vice president and currently as chair of the Buildings & Grounds Committee. Besthoff’s clear-eyed vision for the future has resulted in the critically acclaimed Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, which is repeatedly named as one of the best sculpture gardens in the world, most recently by Galerie Magazine; a renovated museum with new mechanical systems, elevators, and foundations; and a state-of-the-art storage facility, reps said.

         The Sydney Besthoff Legacy Award recognizes an individual who, throughout his or her lifetime, has shown an exceptional commitment to visual arts and provided significant impact to the New Orleans Museum of Art and the city of New Orleans. “The Sydney” recipients’ contributions can include, but are not limited to, the development of programs or other public engagement opportunities dedicated to advancing visual arts, important acquisitions, monetary support and other funding, and/ or leadership. Designed by renowned artist Frank Stella, the inaugural award is a small version of a large-scale star-shaped sculpture that will ultimately be featured in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

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         “Sydney’s dream for the future is to increase NOMA’s reach and the works available to the public, with the stipulation that the sculpture garden be free and open every day all year round so that anyone can enjoy art in a contemplative, idyllic, distinctly Louisiana environment,” said Susan Taylor, Montine McDaniel Freeman director at NOMA. “It is only appropriate that the award is in the shape of a star, for the brightest star in NOMA’s constellation, Sydney Besthoff.”

         The New Orleans Museum of Art, founded in 1910 by Isaac Delgado, houses nearly 40,000 art objects encompassing 5,000 years of world art. Works from the permanent collection, along with continuously changing special exhibitions, are on view in the museum's 46 galleries. The adjoining Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden features work by more than 60 artists, including several of the 20th century's master sculptors.

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