Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute
Bringing the Arts to Everyone
310 Genesee Street
Utica, New York
Phone 315-797-0000



Stepping Back from the “Fiscal Cliff”

As Congress took action to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of tax increases and spending cuts at the beginning of 2013, they also made some decisions that benefit philanthropic activities by our donors. In addition to maintaining the tax deductibility of charitable gifts, they reinstated the ability for donors over age 70 ½ to make IRA Charitable Rollover Gifts through 2013.

Donors of that age facing taxable distributions from their IRA in 2013 may choose to have their IRA administrators make that distribution directly to a qualified charity, such as Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, and avoid the income tax that is normally due when making distributions from an IRA. The total of such gifts from an IRA cannot exceed $100,000 ($200,000 for a couple.) If you think that this method of giving may benefit you, consult your tax advisor or contact our development office  at 797-0000, extension 2124 for more information.


What is the Annual Fund?

The MWPAI Annual Fund is the voluntary financial support of our members and patrons that provides essential support to the programs, exhibitions, classes and performances that we offer all year long. It is given by people like you who understand the value of art and culture in our community. The Annual Fund helps us to maintain free admission to the museum, helps us to bring the most creative performers to our Great Artist Series and Concerts in the Court, enables us to provide guided museum tours to thousands of schoolchildren every year, ensures that we can attract and retain exceptional teaching artists as faculty for our classes, and, in short, makes everything that the Institute does just that much better. Support from the Annual Fund truly allows our programs to be excellent.

MWPAI relies upon three primary sources of income to fund the broad array of programs you have come to expect. The largest source is our endowment, established by our founding families. Today, income from the endowment provides nearly 60% of our budget each year. Next is revenue generated by tuition, ticket sales and program fees. While this revenue is substantial, it does not cover the full costs of making these programs available. Our third source of income is the voluntary support we receive from our community, the Annual Fund.

Your generosity impacts every single facet of the jewel that is MWPAI. Beginning with this issue of The Bulletin, and continuing monthly, we will highlight a different Institute program that relies upon your support of the Annual Fund. As you make your philanthropic decisions, please consider supporting the Institute with a generous Annual Fund gift. We are counting on you!

Give Now

For questions or assistance, please contact our development office  at 797-0000, extension 2124 or Email


Taking Stock, and Giving Stock

With so much focus on our presidential election this year, many of our members are more interested than ever in tax cuts, tax rates and tax deductions. Regardless of who wins the election and what Congress chooses to do, there is a way that you may be able to enjoy a tax savings for this year when you make a gift to MWPAI.

Most donors know that December is the last opportunity to make gifts to MWPAI in order to enjoy a charitable tax deduction on their taxes for 2012. Savvy donors know that their gifts to the Institute may be even more tax-wise if instead of writing a check or using a credit card, they make a gift of appreciated securities. Such a gift enables the donor to take a tax deduction for the full market value of the stock on the day it is transferred to the Institute, AND avoid any capital gains tax on the appreciation of that stock. Look at the following example to see how this works:

• Suppose Mrs. Smith wants to join the Fountain Elms Society with a gift of $1000. If she simply writes a check, and assuming she is in the 33% tax bracket, her “out-of-pocket” cost would be $667 ($1000 less $333, the value of her tax deduction.)

• Now suppose instead that Mrs. Smith owns shares of XYZ Inc., which she bought at $50 per share and is now worth $250 per share. If she gifts 4 shares of that stock to the Institute, she still gets the $333 tax deduction, plus she avoids the capital gains tax of 15% or $120 on the gain in the value of her stock. Thus, the real cost of her $1000 gift is only $547. Even more impressive is that you can consider that her total out-of-pocket cost was only $200, given her excellent foresight in buying XYZ, Inc. at only $50 per share.

Joe Silberlicht, the Institute’s Director of Development, is available to discuss gifts of stock with you at your convenience. “These gifts are simple,” he says, “and offer tremendous tax benefits to our donors.” Joe does offer two cautions, however. First, “Don’t wait until the last minute to initiate one of these transactions. They often take several days or a couple of weeks to be completed by your broker, and you don’t want to miss out on the December 31 deadline.” Second, he notes “Remember that to take full advantage of the tax benefits of this form of giving, you must donate the stock to the Institute. Don’t make the mistake of selling the stock first and then donating the proceeds. Doing so will expose you to the full bill for capital gains.”

Contact our development office  at 797-0000, extension 2124. He welcomes the opportunity to explore tax-wise giving options with you, and all calls are confidential.


Fountain Elms Society News

Members of the Institute’s Fountain Elms Society gathered on the terrace of the Proctor’s ancestral home for the Society’s annual Holiday Reception. While enjoying Victorian inspired sweets and savories, members were delighted to mingle with special guests Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, stars of the reality television show The Fabulous Beekman Boys.

President Tony Spiridigloizzi thanked those assembled for their generous support of the Institute while recounting the milestones experienced over the past year, including the 50th anniversary of the Johnson building, the 10th anniversary of Pratt MWP and the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Institute. He also took the opportunity to congratulate The Beekman Boys on their efforts to revitalize the village of Sharon Springs and allowed that it is his hope that MWPAI can play a similar role in our own community.

The Fountain Elms Society honors Institute members who voluntarily support the Institute with gifts of $1,000 or more each year. The Society sponsors a number of special events annually.


New Payment Options Make it Easy to Join the Fountain Elms Society

MWPAI President Anthony J. Spiridigloizzi has announced that membership in the Fountain Elms Society is now available to anyone making a monthly pledge to the Institute of $85 or more, payable on any major credit card.

The Fountain Elms Society recognizes and rewards the Institute’s most generous donors whose financial support is crucial to the future of MWPAI.

This monthly pledge option makes membership accessible to those who are passionate about their support of art and culture in the community, but are more comfortable making modest, monthly gifts rather than a single large payment. “The Society is a gathering of wonderful friends of the Institute who enjoy our programs and the social events that celebrate their commitment,” Spiridigloizzi said. “I want to make sure that all who want to take advantage of the membership benefits are able to do so.”

Each member of the Society contributes at least $1,000 annually in support of the Institute’s programs. Membership benefits include reciprocal privileges at many museums throughout North America, discounts to most Institute programs, unlimited free admission to special ticketed exhibitions, and invitations to at least four events solely for Fountain Elms Society members each year.

During 2012, those events will include an escorted coach trip to a significant arts performance in central New York, an exclusive preview of our major summer exhibition, Shadow of the Sphinx, and our traditional Victorian Holiday celebration. Members are also invited to a curator-guided “behind the scenes” tour of one of our museum buildings and art storage facility for a group of up to ten family members, friends, and colleagues.

To learn more about the Fountain Elms Society, or to enroll either directly or through the monthly payment plan, contact our development office  at 797-0000, extension 2124 or email.


Bequest Recognized

The Institute gratefully acknowledges a generous bequest from the estate of Mr. Charles L. (Chuck) Pankiewicz, who passed away June 18, 2011. Born in Utica in 1924, Chuck had been a member of MWPAI for more than 50 years. He and his wife, Stephanie, who died in 1996, were frequent visitors to the Museum of Art and rarely missed Great Artists Series performances. “Chuck’s thoughtful gift will help ensure that the art and culture he and Stephanie enjoyed will be available to future generations,” said MWPAI Acting President Anthony Spiridigloizzi. “In following the example set by the Proctors and in the spirit of community, Chuck’s generosity is deeply appreciated.”

Individuals who have made us aware that the Institute is a beneficiary named in their will or estate plans are recognized with membership in the 1936 Legacy Circle. For more information about the 1936 Legacy Circle or including MWPAI in your estate plans, please contact our development office  at 797-0000, extension 2124 or email.


Gala Celebrates 75 Years

More than 250 corporate sponsors, board members, and members of the Fountain Elms Society gathered on May 21 to enjoy cocktails, an excellent silent auction, a superb meal, and much socializing at the 75th Anniversary Gala.  

Adding to the excitement was a live auction of 14 wonderful artworks and experiences by our celebrity auctioneer, Leigh Keno. Among the items taken home by determined bidders were a beautiful Stickley mission oak rocker, a pair of original Easton Pribble paintings and a hotel stay in the Italian Dolomites. No one left empty-handed, as even the unsuccessful bidders left with souvenir crystal wine glasses etched with an image of the wyvern as featured on the Institute’s weathervane.

The event was designed to celebrate 75 years of MWPAI’s service to our community, and to raise funds to continue that legacy for the next 75 years and beyond. At the conclusion of the evening, Joe Silberlicht, MWPAI director of development, thanked the attendees, noting that their generosity in sponsoring tables, purchasing tickets, and bidding enthusiastically had raised more than $103,000 to benefit Institute programs.  He also thanked our volunteer chairs, Mike and Kelly Parsons, for their efforts on behalf of the Institute.

A number of upcoming events will offer our members and the public opportunities to join in the celebration of the 75th Anniversary.  In addition to the opening reception for Wedded Perfection, the celebration continues with receptions welcoming the exhibitions, Ansel Adams: Masterworks from the Collection of the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, and Trenton Falls: The Moore Family and Trenton Falls: Three Paintings by Thomas Hicks and Enhancing a Legacy: Gifts and Acquisitions in Honor of the Museum of Art’s 75th Anniversary.

A special 75th Anniversary Holiday gathering of the Fountain Elms Society is scheduled for December 10.






Online Annual Fund

The MWPAI Annual Fund is the voluntary financial support of our members and patrons that provides essential support to the programs, exhibitions, classes and performances that we offer all year long.

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Vinnie Coluzza Scholarship

The fund was created to honor a friend and dance program faculty member and will provide assistance to dancers who have financial need and a passion for dance. Thank you to all who contributed. » Learn More...