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houses the most diverse art collection in the Northern Rockies?
Chances are, you answered no. That’s because the museum exhibits just a small percentage of its works at any given time, mostly at small venues on campus.
It’s a problem that Suzanne Moore Crocker ’64 and her husband, Bruce Crocker, are determined to change.
“Getting more of the collection of 11,000 original works of art out of storage and up on the walls will be a wonderful thing,” Suzanne says. “It is very exciting to think that sometime in the near future, students on campus can actually go into the museum and see the real artwork. It will be the most comprehensive fine arts collection on exhibit in the state and available to all Montanans.”
To make this vision a reality, the Crockers have committed a gift from their estate to establish the Suzanne and Bruce Crocker Distinguished Director Fund. The Crockers also are providing an annual gift for the fund until their bequest is realized.
“A great museum always begins with a great director,” Suzanne says. “This collection encompasses a very broad scope of work, from medieval religious icons to work from European masters such as Rembrandt, Daumier, and Picasso, as well as American artists such as Henry Paxson in the nineteenth century and Andy Warhol in the twentieth century. This diversity allows teaching about so many different times, places, and cultures as seen through the art.”
Born in Kalispell, Suzanne is a third-generation Montanan. Today, the Crockers live in Palo Alto, Calif., and their commitment to the University is commendable. Suzanne served on the UM Foundation Board of Trustees for many years, as well as the President’s Advisory Council. Now, Bruce serves on the Foundation Board and its Investment Committee, and Suzanne belongs to the Montana Museum of Art & Culture Advisory Council.
“Each piece of art tells a story,” Bruce says. “We hope our gift is a solid start and inspiration for others to also support a permanent home for such a wonderful Montana treasure.”
Bruce now is retired after a varied career in Silicon Valley. Initially, he served as an operating executive with several companies, then worked as an investment banker with Hambrecht and Quist. From 1998 until his retirement, he was a partner in Pitango Venture Capital, Israel’s leading venture capital fund.
Before her retirement, Suzanne worked as an executive in marketing and communications for a number of Silicon Valley companies, including Businessland and Raster Graphics. She also consulted with many software and hardware companies. When she retired from the tech world, she completed a master’s degree in English literature and now dedicates much of her time to volunteering at Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center. Together, the couple raised two children. They now enjoy time with their four grandchildren, who also live in the Bay Area.
MMAC Director Barbara Koostra says the Crockers’ generosity will preserve the University’s art collection for future generations.
“I am so grateful for this gift from Suzanne and Bruce because it strengthens the museum now and also encourages others to join the mission of permanently housing this immense resource for Montana and the entire region,” Koostra says.
See some of the museum’s works of art and hear from Suzanne and Anne Bertsche, another museum supporter, at www.youtube.com/TheUMFoundation.
To learn how you can support a new home for the Montana Museum of Art & Culture, call Koostra at 406-243-2019 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.