NEW PALTZ — A $350,000 donation has been given to the State University of New York at New Paltz for the purpose of supporting and enriching the educational mission of the College and specifically for enhancing the soon-to-be-constructed Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art.

The donors, who wish to remain anonymous, commended Patricia C Phillips, Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts, and Neil C. Trager, Director of the Museum, “for their imaginative plans to expand the gallery facility…and to make the permanent collection and local artists’ work easily available to the entire Ulster County community and beyond.”

The new museum will exhibit works from a growing permanent art collection of more than 4,000 objects as well as feature exhibitions of works by international, national, and regional artists. The museum will serve the College and the Hudson Valley region.

“We applaud the generosity of these individuals,” said Trager. “Their magnanimous gift will allow us to strengthen the teaching and research facilities and programs of the museum and thereby open the doors to educational outreach programs for schools and organizations throughout the region.”

Phillips said, “The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art will be a magnet creating new partnerships between the intellectual and artistic communities of the College and the region. It will also make important regional collections accessible to the public for research and enjoyment.”

“The new museum, scheduled for completion in 1999, will have a special interest and commitment to collecting and interpreting important works of art created by artists who have lived and worked in the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains,” said Trager. “This unique mission distinguishes it from other art museums of the region,” he added.

The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art is named for a long-time patron of the College Art Gallery, who made the lead gift for this construction project. Absorbing the facilities and programs of the existing College Art Gallery, the new museum will provide nearly 9,000 square feet of exhibition space, making it the second largest museum within the State University system and the only public museum in the mid-Hudson Valley. [The Neuberger Museum at SUNY Purchase is the largest.]

The new museum will enable the College to exhibit works of art from its eclectic permanent collection on a regular basis, increase the scope and size of its world-class temporary exhibits, and enhance access to all of its collections for study and pleasure.

“We are most grateful for the generosity of these donors,” said College President Roger W. Bowen. “Their support for SUNY New Paltz, and specifically for the visual arts, will have a significant positive impact on and beyond the campus. The museum will enhance the College’s reputation, promote inter-disciplinary instruction through the arts, and serve as a cultural center galvanizing the College and the community,” added Bowen. President Bowen also said that he was “most appreciative of their decision to come forward now, at a time when the university is under fire.”

In a statement issued to President Bowen, the donors said that they decided to convey the gift in “support of Roger Bowen…at a time when he is under attack from people whose agenda is to politicize and polarize the whole SUNY system, and to impose their own narrow conservative opinions on campuses where all points of view should be heard, and freely debated, not suppressed by threats of firing a very good and effective president.

“We support SUNY New Paltz,” the statement continued, “at a time when it is under attack from politicians whose main agenda is to cut costs and reduce the quality of public higher education in New York State. We urge others to contribute financially to our local college campus through the College at New Paltz Foundation.”