Art Museum Receives Huge Gift

The $11.75 million endowment is the Cincinnati Art Museum's largest single monetary gift in its history.

click to enlarge Carl and Alice Bimel - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Carl and Alice Bimel
The Cincinnati Art Museum has announced the largest single monetary gift in its history — an $11.75 million endowment for its collections of art from South Asia, Greater Iran and Afghanistan. It was bequeathed by Alice and Carl Bimel and establishes the Alice Bimel Endowment for Asian Art. She died in 2008; he in 2013.

“In coming years, the Alice Bimel Endowment for Asian Art will enable us to grow our research and collections from the crossroads of Eastern and Western cultures and faiths,” Cameron Kitchin, the museum’s director, told CityBeat via email. “From Assyria to Persia to India and Pakistan, the Bimel Endowment advances study of vital cultures that are as relevant in contemporary society as in antiquity.”

According to a press release issued Tuesday by the museum, the Bimels traveled widely in Asia, where they collected art. They had been museum benefactors while alive, donating art and funding purchases for the collection. Before this, they had already given $2 million to the museum. Additionally, Alice was a museum volunteer for more than 40 years and a docent. In 1972, she was the first woman named to the museum’s board of trustees. In 2006, she received its George Rieveschl Medal for Distinguished Service. 

The announcement of the endowment’s creation closely follows the new appointment of Ainsley Cameron as curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art and Antiquities. In the museum’s announcement, she said, “The opportunity to build an ambitious collection in a public museum today is rare. Alice and Carl Bimel have made that possible for Cincinnati. With this endowment, we can create an exceptional collection, one that represents the vibrancy and vitality prevalent in the arts of the region, from both the historic period and the contemporary.”

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