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Columbus Museum of Art Announces Pivotal Gift by Soter Family
The Soters’ pledge of $1.5 million to the Art Matters endowment and capital campaign enables the Museum to present special exhibitions.

COLUMBUS, OH.- The Columbus Museum of Art announces the establishment of the William and Sarah Ross Soter Endowed Curator of Photography. The first endowed position in CMA history, this pivotal gift builds upon the Soter and Ross families’ commitment to photography. The Soters’ pledge of $1.5 million to the Art Matters endowment and capital campaign enables the Museum to present special exhibitions of photography, support original scholarship related to the medium, and provide educational and other programs for generations to come. Catherine Evans has accepted the first William and Sarah Ross Soter Curator of Photography appointment.

At age thirteen, Sally Ross Soter began volunteering at the Columbus Museum of Art. She inherited her commitment to the Museum from her parents, Elizabeth M. and Richard M. Ross. Mrs. Ross is a long-time Museum Trustee and founding member of the Museum’s Women’s Board.

“The Columbus Museum of Art is important to me because it is the first place I ever volunteered,” said Mrs. Soter. “The hours I spent there have given me a tremendous connection with the Museum even though Bill and I now live in Florida.”

Mrs. Soter’s interest in photography was inspired by her father, an avid photographer and collector. His commitment to photography led to the naming of CMA’s Richard M. Ross Photography Center, a gallery dedicated to presenting photography exhibitions.

The Ross family has been a long-time supporter of CMA’s photography program. The family gave CMA its first significant body of photography holdings, created a foundation and direction for collecting work by twentieth-century photographers, and supported the Museum’s acquisition of the Photo League collection.

“Photography has long been a passion of ours. Bill and I are pleased and privileged to be able to give this gift to the Museum,” said Mrs. Soter. "This gift will ensure that the photography program continues to grow in scope and prominence. I hope it will also inspire others to follow their own passions, endowing other positions that resonate with them.”

Mrs. Soter’s love of photography and commitment to philanthropy have also led her to become a charter member of the Norton Museum of Art’s Photography Committee. With her husband Bill, Mrs. Soter endowed the William and Sarah Ross Soter Curator of Photography position in 2000 which has helped the Norton Museum of Art gain national and international recognition of its photography collection. In 2007, Mr. and Mrs. Soter made another gift to the Norton in the amount of $2 million, which includes $1.5 million in endowment for photography programming.

Catherine Evans’s tenure as The William and Sarah Ross Soter Curator of Photography will begin in January 2011. Catherine joined CMA in 1996 as the Curator of Photography and since 2004, has also served as Chief Curator. She has curated more than 45 exhibitions, giving several artists their first one-person museum debuts. In 2001 she spearheaded the successful acquisition of the Photo League collection, the most significant photography acquisition in CMA’s history. The Museum is now nationally recognized for its comprehensive holdings in this period. She has directed the development of major international exhibitions and partnerships such as Renoir’s Women; Edgar Degas: the Last Landscape, which had a second venue in Copenhagen; and In Monet’s Garden: The Lure of Giverny, which had a second venue in Paris. She was the principal author and curator of the exhibition A View from Here: Recent Pictures from Central Europe and the American Midwest, which toured internationally and nationally. She has been a portfolio reviewer in Santa Fe, Houston, Portland, and Atlanta. Prior to the Columbus Museum of Art, Evans worked at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and before that, at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, in New York and Montreal, Canada. She received her degree from Williams College in Art History and German Literature.

“I am greatly honored the Soters chose to ensure the sustainability of our institution through the endowment of a photography position at the Columbus Museum of Art,” said CMA Executive Director Nannette V. Maciejunes. “Catherine’s talent, passion, and knowledge have rightly earned her a national reputation that has, and will continue to, enhance the prominence of our photography collection.”

“This unprecedented gift affords me an incredible opportunity to devote my energies to growing the photography program,” said Catherine Evans. “I am honored to be part of this historic moment for the Columbus Museum of Art.”

The Columbus Museum of Art | Catherine Evans | Sally Ross Soter |

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