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Be a sponsor for our 

Winter/Spring 2024 exhibitions.

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Dear Friend,

Please accept this letter as an invitation to FAM’s supporters to sponsor our upcoming exhibitions for the Winter/Spring 2024 season opening on February 2, 2024. The Fresno Art Museum will showcase four new exhibitions: 1) The Art of Selling Bubblegum: Bowman Trading Cards 1933-1955; 2) Fleeting Pleasures: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Georgia Museum of Art; 3) John Willheim: Secret War Photographer; and 4) June Wayne: The Dorothy Series. What is wonderful about this upcoming season is that all of the artworks exhibited are works on paper. From trading cards to woodblock prints and photographs and lithographs, every medium is printed on paper. Furthermore, the artwork in two of the new exhibitions is being shown for the first time in any museum.

In the Duncan and Hallowell Galleries, The Art of Selling Bubblegum: Bowman Trading Cards 1933-1955 will present over 400 trading cards in 47 framed wall displays and a small display of related items promoting the study and appreciation of American culture, history, and art through baseball cards. This exhibition was proposed by former FAM Board president Jeff Jaech from his local, private collection. This is the first time these materials have been shown in any museum, and Jeff Jaech would like this exhibition to travel to other museums. Jeff Jaech is framing the trading cards in groups of 10, and they will be shown by theme (sports, entertainment, history, WWII). The curatorial staff will need to transport the framed cards from his Fresno location, repaint the galleries from their current dark colors for the Maurice Sendak exhibition, install the framed work, and later return the work to Jeff. The curatorial staff is also planning to build some interactive elements as they did for the current Maurice Sendak exhibition. This exhibition is curated by FAM Curator Sarah Vargas.

In the Fig Garden Gallery, the Fleeting Pleasures: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Georgia Museum of Art exhibition will present 27 woodblock prints by some of the most influential and well-known ukiyo-e artists from 17th to 19th century Japan. This traveling exhibition is from the permanent collection of the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia in Athens, just east of Atlanta. Woodblock prints such as these have been a longtime favorite of Californians and have influenced many California artists, especially in the 1920s-1930s. FAM will need to pay an exhibition rental fee to the Georgia Museum of Art and pay for the shipping of custom-made crates by a specialized art shipper, as well as fine art insurance. The curatorial staff will need to prepare the Fig Garden Gallery using several coats of paint, install the already-framed art, then uninstall and ship it back to Georgia after the exhibition.

In the Lobby and Concourse Galleries, the John Willheim: Secret War Photographer exhibition will present 27 photos taken in 1965 by John Willheim, now a resident of Los Angeles, who was a CIA agent assigned to document the clandestine war in Laos. Now that these powerful images are unclassified, this exhibition marks their first public viewing. Willheim chose Fresno, with its large Hmong community with strong ties to the Secret War, as the ideal place to unveil these images to the public. Willheim is printing the photographs on high-quality 18 x 24-inch paper, some in color and some in black and white. Our curatorial staff will paint the lobby and concourse in FAM’s new standard gallery color (using a rented lift to paint the high walls and ceiling) and will install Willheim’s photographs using strong, small magnets as they did for the current exhibition of photographs by Martha Casanave who suggested this hanging technique which is becoming more and more common in museums and commercial art galleries. Two people from FAM’s curatorial staff will need to drive to Los Angeles in a specialized van to pick up the artwork from John Willheim (while returning the currently exhibited Mary Blair artwork to the Hilbert Museum in the City of Orange on the same trip). After the close of the exhibition, curatorial staff will need to return the artwork to John Willheim in Los Angeles. This exhibition is curated by FAM Curator Sarah Vargas.

In the Moradian Gallery, the June Wayne: The Dorothy Series exhibition will present 20 lithographs by June Wayne (b. 1918), FAM’s Council of 100 Distinguished Woman Artist for 1988, the year the award program started. In the mid-1970s, June Wayne began a project documenting the life of her mother, Dorothy Kline. The resulting lithographs use photographs, personal documents, and artifacts to create an intimate portrait of a hard-working and independent woman dealing with the challenges of the early half of the 20th century. These lithographs, already framed, are part of FAM’s permanent collection of over 3,800 works of art. It is important that FAM maintains this important repository of art and shows treasures such as these from it on an ongoing basis. This exhibition is curated by FAM Curator Sarah Vargas.

In the Contemporary Gallery, the Art of the Word exhibition for the school year 2023/24 will continue during this new season so that the thousands of school children who come to the Museum on tours this year will see the same Art of the Word exhibition. John Parra (b. 1972) painted the featured illustrations for his children’s book Growing an Artist: The Story of a Landscaper and His Son. Parra’s purpose behind the story, illustrated with his own colorful, vibrant, and detailed acrylics, is summed up by the father figure in this book, “I will use my art to tell the stories of hardworking, passionate people who make the world more beautiful.” After the close of the exhibition, the Museum will have the expense of unframing John Parra’s artwork and shipping it back to his studio in New York. This exhibition is curated by FAM Education Director Susan Yost Filgate.

This upcoming exhibition season is expected to cost $60,000 which is less than a typical exhibition season. An important overall expense of this new season will be the curatorial staff time for the work of preparing the galleries for the new season. Additional materials and supplies will be needed for the curatorial staff to paint out the murals created for the Maurice Sendak exhibition and paint over the dark colors used on the walls in those galleries, as well as repaint the lobby and concourse. Your sponsorship commitment at this time, in advance of the Museum receiving the artwork for the new exhibitions, ensures that the Museum can pay the expenses associated with these shows in a timely manner and separately from our general operating funding. We are starting to incur the upcoming exhibition expenses now.

Enclosed with this letter of request is a donation form and a page with selected images from the 2024 Spring/Winter exhibitions to help with your sponsorship decisions. You can choose to sponsor a single exhibition or the entire exhibition season as a whole. For those of you who are able to donate $1,000 or more, we will place your name on the exhibition sponsor wall and on the Museum’s website, as well as on the full-color exhibition flyer and the weekly e-news which are both widely distributed.  

The Fresno Art Museum typically receives no money from the city, county, state, or federal governments. The Museum depends primarily on membership and donations to function, with additional help from admissions, fundraising events, and some grants. The post-pandemic climate for nonprofits both locally and nationwide in the second half of 2023 has been very difficult, just as it is for the Fresno Art Museum now. Our Museum is one of many organizations suffering from a lack of income at this time. The Fresno Art Museum is this community’s only fine art museum, and we will be 75 years old in 2024. Please know that FAM could neither organize nor support the expenses of its exhibition seasons without the crucial support of your sponsorship donations. Thank you in advance for helping to ensure that the Winter/Spring 2024 exhibition season will delight, educate, and enthrall everyone who visits our Museum. We would not have the exhibitions we do without your important help.

Sincerely yours,
Michele Ellis Pracy
Executive Director and Chief Curator

Click here for more details about the upcoming exhibitions or contact Michele Ellis Pracy by email at or by calling 559.441.4221 x102

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