Los Angeles philanthropists Anissa and Paul John Balson have made a landmark gift to establish the Balson Family Endowed Fund, a $5 million fund to support the Getty Villa Museum.
In recognition of the Balsons’ generosity, the title of the senior curator of antiquities at the Getty Villa will be the Anissa and Paul John Balson II Senior Curator of Antiquities at the Getty Villa Museum. The Fund is the largest to be established at the Villa and will enable ongoing study and display of the art of the ancient world.
The announcement was made earlier this month to guests at the opening of Rubens: Picturing Antiquity at the Getty Villa.
“This donation from Anissa and Paul Balson extends their outstanding record of support for Getty’s programs,” said James Cuno, Getty president and CEO. “We are extraordinarily grateful to Anissa and Paul for their friendship and for their decision to create the Balson Family Endowed Fund.”
The Balsons have been actively engaged in the work of Getty since 2014. Both Anissa and Paul serve on the J. Paul Getty Villa Council, where Paul was Chairman, and on the Museum’s Paintings Council. “We’ve been impressed Getty has placed a new emphasis on the diverse cultures of the ancient world that impacted and inspired the Greeks and Romans, including the Egyptians, Persians, Nubians, and Assyrians,” said Paul J. Balson. “We hope to see more exhibits and programs that bring in new voices and perspectives for these foundational cultures and peoples.”
“In addition to supporting the excellent curators, conservators, exhibitions, and programs at the Villa,” adds Anissa Balson, “we also want to affirm the global mission of Getty, which funds conservation and scholarly programs around the world and provides grants to many arts organizations and museums.”
Along with their longstanding support of the Getty, Anissa Boudjakdji Balson serves as a trustee of the Hearst Family Trust, a director of the Hearst Corporation, and a director and vice president of the two Hearst Foundations. She is also a trustee of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and formerly a trustee of Marymount High School. Paul John Balson is formerly a director of the Los Angeles Library Foundation, where he chaired the Audit Committee, and formerly a director of the California Oncology Research Institute. In 2001 he founded Balson Capital Management.
“This generous gift from Anissa and Paul will be truly transformative to the Villa as we deepen our exploration of the classical world and its connections with other ancient cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East,” said Timothy Potts, Maria Hummer-Tuttle and Robert Tuttle Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “This will give new impetus and focus to our ambition of providing visitors, both at the Villa and through digital platforms around the world, with a richer appreciation of the importance and legacy of the diverse cultures of antiquity. The research, scholarship, exhibitions, and educational and public programs that it enables will greatly enrich the lives of future visitors for generations to come.”
“I am extremely honored and humbled to have this distinction,” said Jeffrey Spier, who is the newly named Anissa and Paul John Balson II Senior Curator of Antiquities. “We have greatly valued the thoughtful support of the Balsons and enjoyed working with them on the Villa Council to advance this important work.”