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Vital Partnerships FAQs

Q: How is the National Gallery of Art funded?

A: The Gallery exists as a partnership between the federal government and the American people, as it has since opening its doors in 1941. The government provides a yearly appropriation for day-to-day operations, ensuring that the Gallery remains open to the public free of charge for 363 days a year. Private support from generous individuals, foundations, and corporations allows the Gallery to acquire art to enhance the permanent collection, present special exhibitions from all over the world, support scholarly programs, sustain important education programs and activities, and advance conservation and research to preserve the collection.

Q: What inspires people to give to Gallery?

A: For more than seventy years the National Gallery of Art has been a testament to the dedication of extraordinary individuals whose love of art is matched by their love of country. The Gallery’s history is part of an enduring story of American philanthropy that sustains our greatest institutions and monuments.

Q: How do private donations support Gallery programs?

A: Private support from dedicated donors helps fulfill the Gallery’s mission of service to the nation through the acquisition of art to augment the permanent collection; the presentation of special exhibitions from all over the world; support for The Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) and its scholarly programs; funding the education department and its activities for Gallery visitors as well as students, teachers, and lovers of art across the country; the advancement of conservation and research to preserve the Gallery’s collection and works of art around the world; and programs to enhance the Gallery visitor’s experience such as films, concerts, and lectures.

For information about designating a gift for one of these areas, please complete the online contact form or call the Development Office at (202) 842-6372.

Q: Does the Gallery have an endowment that supports all its activities?

A: The Gallery does not have an operating endowment. We are grateful to the President and Congress for the crucial support through federal funds for the upkeep, administrative expenses and costs of operations, including the protection of the works of art given to the nation, so that the Gallery can be open to the public at no charge.

Q: Can I make a gift anonymously?

A: Yes.

Q: Can I make a gift in honor or memory of a friend or loved one?

A: Yes. Please include the name and mailing address of the individual whom you wish to honor and we will be happy to notify that person of your gift (if applicable).

Q: Can I designate my gift to the Gallery for a particular use?

A: Yes. Please complete the online contact form or call (202) 842-6372 for further information on designating a gift for particular use.

Q: How do I leave something to the Gallery in my will?

A: Please consult the Planned Giving section of the Gallery’s web page to learn more about the options for making a bequest or some other form of legacy gift.