When we open ourselves to art, we open ourselves to the world – to beauty, craft, to different cultures, to pain and pleasure, expression and emotion.

2020 James Shoolbred Award Winner Announced

Photo by MCG Photography

The Gibbes Museum of Art has named Board Member Susan Smythe as the recipient of the annual James Shoolbred Gibbes Philanthropy Award. Each year the Gibbes presents the award to an individual, group or business who demonstrates outstanding philanthropic contributions to the museum. Smythe joined the Gibbes Board of Directors in 2011, served as Board Chair in 2018 and has assisted the Gibbes in major initiatives that have aided the prosperity of the museum.

“It is a privilege and honor to acknowledge Susan Smythe as our 2020 James Shoolbred Gibbes Philanthropy Award recipient,” says Angela Mack, executive director of the Gibbes Museum of Art. “We will be forever grateful to her for sharing her time, talent and professionalism with our museum.”

Smythe’s long-standing relationship with the Gibbes Museum began when she helped negotiate the first memorandum of understanding between the City of Charleston and the non-profit Carolina Art Association (CAA) regarding ownership of the Gibbes Museum facility. This memorandum of understanding led to the museum being awarded $3.9 million from the city for important renovations completed in 2016. She also helped the museum secure a $2.6 million Historic Tax Credit as part of that same capital campaign.

Smythe, an attorney at Womble Bond Dickinson, has more than four decades of experience in a wide range of practice areas, including real estate, mergers & acquisitions, finance, corporate and conservation easements. Susan Smythe attended Brown University and University of Virginia Law School.

James Gibbes was deeply devoted to the betterment of Charleston’s young creative minds in the aftermath of Reconstruction. Through his 1885 bequest of $100,000, which in today’s dollars is valued at $2.5 million, James Gibbes launched what we know today as the Gibbes Museum of Art.  His generosity and vision set the stage for the visual arts in Charleston by providing the funds to build the oldest art museum in the South

Past James Shoolbred Gibbes Philanthropy Award recipients include Susan and Van Campbell, Esther and Jim Ferguson, BlueCross BlueShield, Gibbes, etc., Harriet Smartt, Caroline and Tom Vreede, Mickey Bakst, Croghan’s Jewel Box, Allan Anderson, Laura Gates, Jill Almeida and Alice Wyatt.

Top photograph by MCG Photography

Posted June 8, 2020

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