Dallas Museum of Art Announces $1.42 Million Gift

The Dallas Museum of Art announced that the O’Donnell Foundation is making a gift of $1.42 million in support of the museum’s digital transformation initiatives.

These new innovations will address essential infrastructure and systems upgrades to meet the current state of digitalization demands and drive a revamp of the Museum’s visitor experience strategy, both online and on-site. They include the expansion of its internal systems through the development of a constituent relationship management solution and a comprehensive redevelopment of the museum’s website. 

Digital tools have become increasingly critical to the DMA’s audiences, operations, and long-term relevancy and ability to reach individuals, regardless of physical location. The COVID-19 pandemic saw the museum’s entire engagement model shift to online or virtual-only formats with its closure in mid-March, further highlighting the need to augment technological infrastructure and capabilities specifically to enhance connectivity with visitors in this critical moment of change.  

The introduction of a constituent relationship management solution will provide the DMA with sophisticated tools that leverage data and insights on visitors’ interest and expectations, allowing it to build more personalized experiences. It will pave the way with cutting-edge strategies for increased engagement and satisfaction the community considers relevant and exciting. Redesigning the DMA’s website, last done more than a decade ago, will produce a vastly improved user experience that will prioritize accessibility and usability standards, as well as guide visitors to more relevant content. 

“This is a pivotal moment for the Museum, and we are deeply grateful to the O’Donnell Foundation for the generosity of this gift and for their support,” said Dr. Agustín Arteaga, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director. “During this unique time, the Museum finds itself adapting to a rapidly changing environment that includes telecommuting, teaching from home, and social distancing. Now more than ever, engaging with visitors online through modern, efficient means is essential to the ability to inspire individuals whose lives have been upended by this crisis and this period of immense stress. While people are still separated physically, the ability to connect virtually is critical to the DMA’s mission.”   

The project timeline will begin in early fall 2020 and is projected for completion in winter 2022. It will be led by KC Hurst, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, and Amir Tabei, Director of Information Technology and Digital Media.  

This multimillion-dollar gift is the latest in nearly 70 years of philanthropy from Edith and Peter O’Donnell and the O’Donnell Foundation that began when Edith O’Donnell became a volunteer in 1952. Their focused support and financial contributions have been ongoing for 68 years, with particular emphasis on audience growth, education, and technology. This new gift continues that commitment. 

In 2013 the O’Donnell Foundation and Edith and Peter O’Donnell personally made a visionary gift of $9 million to support the DMA’s free general admission and the digitization of the museum’s entire permanent collection, thereby dramatically strengthening its community relationships and creating one of the most sophisticated online art collections in the world. Building on that success, the DMA now looks to the next chapter in its history. By addressing critical needs, the 2020 grant will have a lasting impact for years to come as the DMA focuses on the requirements and interest of its visitors through innovation and engagement. “The DMA firmly believes that strengthening its internal capacity to reach and serve a broad community through meaningful content and acquisition of visitor data is critical to confirming the museum as an essential community resource and international cultural destination,” added Arteaga. 

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