Imagine this: You are a casual art lover and you’ve acquired a large collection of important art. You want it to have a greater impact than it might just hanging in a gallery. What do you do?
If you’re Steve and Ashlee Liebel, South Florida-based business owners, you reach out to several local universities to see if the artwork could have a long-term benefit for students. That unexpected outreach set the wheels in motion for the College of Arts and Humanities to receive the largest gift in its history.
The collection of artwork donated by the Leibels is valued at $5.2 million. “We have always had great respect for UCF and the role it plays in the community and hope this gift will benefit the university from an educational and financial aspect for years to come,” says Steve. The collection — 3,260 pieces of unframed lithographs — isn’t just big in size. Its impact on the college, students and the UCF Gallery will be huge. Some of the artists represented in the collection include Shimon Okshteyn (Ukranian b.1951), Moissey Kogan (Russian b.1952), Mihail Aleksandrov (Lithuanian b. 1949), Mihail Chemiakin (Russian b. 1943).
Per the Liebel family’s wishes, the college anticipates using funds from the sale of some of the art to create an endowment that will support exhibitions, travel for guest artists, capital improvements to the gallery and archives, as well as to provide unique opportunities for students.
“The Liebel family’s donation demonstrates the power of philanthropy and its ability to transform education,” says Jeffrey M. Moore, dean, College of Arts and Humanities. “Through this generous gift, our students and faculty will gain access to an array of activities and opportunities they might not otherwise have had the chance to pursue.”
This gift will also help UCF attract and retain outstanding faculty, recruit the best and brightest students, and stay a leader in arts education.