Your ongoing generosity enables us to pursue the highest level of teaching, research and exhibitions in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture. Support our mission today.

Learning More About Designating Your Gift

Bard Graduate Center is a leading research institute in the field of decorative arts, design history, and material culture. Your gift may be designated to an area of our work which is most meaningful for you.

Greatest Needs

Gifts designated to Greatest Needs are deployed on an organization-wide basis giving Bard Graduate Center the flexibility to direct out resources where they will have the greatest impact. Gifts in any amount are welcome.

Named funds and endowments can be established with contributions of $10,000 or more. For more information call 212.501.3071.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Since its founding in 1993, Bard Graduate Center has attracted top students who are passionate about pursuing advanced study in the decorative arts and design history. Students choose Bard Graduate Center for the scholarly rigor of the MA and PhD programs, the diverse curriculum, the substantive internship opportunities, and the practical experience provided by the Focus Project initiative, a curricular component that provides hands-on exhibition training in the Bard Graduate Center Gallery. To date, we are proud to have graduated over 400 alumni/ae, many of whom have gone on to careers in academia, museums, galleries, auction houses, and cultural institutions worldwide.

Our students’ success is due in no small part to the many individuals who support scholarships and financial aid. Over 75% of students at Bard Graduate Center qualify for need-based scholarship support. Your donation helps ensure that financial aid continues to be available for all students who qualify.

Named scholarship funds and named fellowships can be established with contributions of $10,000 or $30,000. For more information call 212.501.3071.

Academic Programs and Research

Gifts designated to Academic Programs and Research ensure that Bard Graduate Center maintains an innovative and rigorous curriculum led by the highest caliber faculty. These gifts also support critically important resources for research including a digital media lab; a research library with access to hundreds of academic journals; and numerous public forums for the presentation and distribution of the research conducted by students, faculty, and visiting scholars.

Named funds and endowed professorships are available. For more information call 212.501.3071.

Exhibitions and Catalogues

Bard Graduate Center is recognized for its acclaimed exhibitions and catalogues that bring together ground-breaking research in the fields of decorative arts and material culture with the highest standards of exhibition design.

More than sixty exhibitions have been presented at Bard Graduate Center Gallery since its founding in 1993. Ranging in subject from Chinese cloisonné to contemporary design and craft in Colombia, and William Kent’s Georgian style to the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest. Our shows delve deeply into the history of material culture throughout the world.

Designating gifts to Exhibitions and Catalogues supports Bard Graduate Center’s exhibitions from conception through realization including the catalogues.

Corporate and Individual Sponsorships are available starting at $5,000. Sponsor benefits include the following:
  • Visibility opportunities on website, on-site signage, and printed materials
  • Invitations to the opening events
  • Invitations to related exhibitions and symposia
  • Private exhibition tour
  • Custom benefits available
For more information call 212.501.3071.
Legacy and Planned Giving
There is no more thoughtful investment in Bard Graduate Center’s future than a planned gift. These gifts have far-reaching effects that benefit both present and future scholars at Bard Graduate Center.

Join The Iris Legacy Society for the Decorative Arts at Bard

The Iris Legacy Society for the Decorative Arts at Bard has been established to recognize loyal alumni/ae and friends of Bard Graduate Center and Bard College who have made provisions in their estate plans designated to support graduate-level study in decorative arts, design history, and material culture at Bard Graduate Center, an independent program of Bard College. Bard Graduate Center and its mission can be supported through a donor’s will; a Charitable Gift Annuity or Trust; or an investment in Bard’s pooled income fund.

A bequest, the most common way for donors to provide for the future of Bard Graduate Center, offers several advantages including the following:

  • A donor may be able to make a larger gift than otherwise possible, the estate may save on estate taxes, and the arrangement is revocable, allowing for changes as needed.
  • You can make a bequest supporting the Bard Graduate Center by preparing a new will or revising an existing one.

Making Bard Graduate Center a beneficiary of retirement accounts, investment accounts, or insurance policies may provide benefits to the donor and their heirs.

Other ways to support BGC include:

  • Appreciated stock
  • IRA distributions
  • Gifts and partial gifts of real estate or other property
  • In-Kind donations: Bard Graduate Center has a world-class academic research library and an object lab where students can get first-hand experience learning from objects. Both the library and the object lab welcome inquiries about in-kind donations.

Gifts via wire transfers or stock:

Bard Graduate Center welcomes donations via wire transfer. For account numbers and instructions, please contact Benjamin Krevolin, Chief Advancement Officer at, 212.501.3072.

How We Use Your Gift

Where BGC Resources Come From

During the academic year ending June 30, 2017, Bard Graduate Center received more than $3.3 million in contributions from over 250 private and public sources. These resources were combined with the income from endowed funds and other revenue to provide the institution with stability and the opportunity to deliver the valuable programs detailed on this website.

Sources and their percentage of total raised/earned.

Endowed Funds: 54%
  • Designated and general-purpose endowments
Contributions and Special Events: 28%
  • Contributed income from alumni/ae, friends, foundations, and corporations
  • Government grants
  • Income from Annual Iris Awards Luncheon and other special events

Tuition and Fees: 11%

  • Tuition
  • Application, housing, and usage fees
Other Earned Revenue: 7%
  • Publication and gallery shop sales
  • Facility and residential rentals

What BGC Resources Are Used For

In the fiscal year now completed, more than 65% of BGC resources were used for the institution’s core programs dedicated to the study and interpretation of decorative art, design history, and material culture.

Uses and their percentage of total budget.

Academic Programs: 30%
  • Faculty, curriculum expenses, programs, independent research
Gallery: 18%
  • Exhibition research, production, and publications
  • General Management and Operations: 18%
  • Maintenance, security, technology, website, design, and finance
Research Activities: 6%
  • Research events, publications, fellowships
Administration and Fundraising: 13%
  • Director’s Office, Development, Human Resources, Finance and Administration
Financial Aid: 7%
  • Tuition assistance, stipends, work study
Public Programs: 5%
  • Continuing education and outreach
Residence Hall: 3%
  • Management of Bard Hall
Iris Awards Foundation: Celebrating Contributions to the Decorative Arts

On April 18, 2018 Bard Graduate Center will present the 22nd Annual Iris Foundation Awards at an annual luncheon held at the Colony Club in New York City. Click here to view the invitation. To purchase tickets, please click here.

Iris 2018

Founded on the belief that the decorative arts, design history, and material culture are unique academic fields unto themselves, Bard Graduate Center is committed not only to research but also to advocacy and the visibility of the discipline. To further this mission, in 1997 Susan Weber created the Iris Foundation Awards which are presented to individuals whose scholarship, connoisseurship, and dedication have advanced the understanding of this important field among scholars, collectors, professionals, and the general public.

Bard Graduate Center will present the 22nd Annual Iris Foundation Awards on April 18 at a luncheon held at the Colony Club in New York City. The event brings together the design and academic communities to honor outstanding individuals who have contributed to the study and appreciation of the decorative arts, design history, and material culture. This year’s recipients are:

Outstanding Patron, John C. Waddell

For the past forty years, John C. Waddell has formed collections that explore the advent of modernism. In 1989, his collection of early modernist photographs was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and exhibited as The New Vision: Photography Between the World Wars. His first collection of modern design and decorative arts, donated to the Met in 2000, was exhibited as American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age. In 2011, he donated a second design collection, focusing on the earliest examples of American modern design and decorative arts, to the Yale University Art Gallery. It is featured in Yale’s catalogue A Modern World: American Design from the Yale University Art Gallery, 1920 –1950.

Lifetime Achievement in Scholarship, Dr. Aileen Ribeiro

Dr. Aileen Ribeiro is a specialist in fashion and costume history who has shared her knowledge in lecture appearances throughout Great Britain, Europe, and North America. She holds a degree in history from King’s College London, an MA and PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art, and has been on the faculty of the Courtauld as well as the University of London. Ribeiro has published many books and articles. The most recent include: A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery (2015), and Clothing Art: The Visual Culture of Fashion 1600–1914 (2017); essays on dress in the work of Liotard in Jean-Etienne Liotard (National Gallery of Scotland and the Royal Academy of Arts 2015), and on clothing in Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party (Phillips Collection, Washington 2017).

Outstanding Mid-Career Scholar, Dr. Jason Sun

Dr. Jason Sun is the Brooke Russell Astor Curator of Chinese Art in the Department of Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He received his PhD in Chinese Art and Archaeology from Princeton University and was the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Curator of East Asian Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art before joining the Metropolitan in 1999. Dr. Sun has curated The Bishop Jades, Excellence and Elegance: Decorative Art of the Eighteenth Century Qing Court, Small Delight: Chinese Snuff Bottles, Colors of the Universe: Chinese Hardstone Carvings, and the 2017 landmark exhibition Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Dynasties (221 B.C.–A.D. 220). He worked with James Watt, former chairman of the Asian Art Department, on two seminal exhibitions: China: Dawn of a Golden Age, and The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty. Sun has lectured and published widely on a variety of subjects including Chinese jade carving, metalwork, calligraphy, archaeology, and museum studies.

Outstanding Dealer, Benoist F. Drut

Benoist F. Drut developed an interest in collecting early on in his native France. At fifteen, he met acclaimed dealer Thierry Millerand who advised him on how to become a successful dealer. After finishing his law degree in Paris, Drut moved to New York, taking a job with eighteenth-century furniture collector, Roger Prigent. A chance meeting with Gerard Widdershoven brought him to Maison Gerard where he became his business partner. Today, Drut, as sole owner, continues to preserve the welcoming character Widdershoven fostered in the seventies: “the gallery is not merely a place for design, but a place where design lives; not only where the old and new coexist seamlessly, but where it is easy to feel at home amongst the beauty of both.”

Past Iris Honoree List


Harold M. Williams
Sir Geoffrey de Bellaigue*


Jayne Wrightsman
Graham Hood
Pamela Robertson


Lord Rothschild
Peter Thornton*
Ellen Lupton


James Biddle*
Anne L. Poulet
Edward S. Cooke, Jr.


The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire*
Jules David Prown
Craig Clunas


James R. Houghton
Geoffrey Beard*
Valerie Steele


Hélène David-Weill
Simon Jervis
Thomas P. Campbell


Lily Safra
Hugh Honour
Paola Antonelli


Mitchell Wolfson, Jr.
Jane C. Nylander
Evelyn Welch


John H. Bryan
Jonathan Fairbanks
Dianne Harris
The Fine Art Society


Liliane M. Stewart*
Henry Hawley
Barry Bergdoll
Eric N. Shrubsole*


Phyllis Lambert
Robert Hillenbrand
David Crowley
Philippe de Montebello


Dr. Mortimer Sackler* and Dame Theresa Sackler
Sir Hugh Roberts
Daniel Miller
Alexis Kugel and Nicolas Kugel


Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
Neil Harris
John Styles


Shelley and Donald Rubin
John Harris
Juliet Kinchin
Bernard Dragesco


The Koç Family
Hans Ottomeyer
Alisa LaGamma
Mark McDonald


Richard Jenrette
Morrison H. Heckscher
Glenn Adamson
Adrian Sassoon


Iris Cantor
Dame Rosalind J. Savill
Finbarr Barry Flood
Martin Levy


Barbro S. Osher
Sir Mark Jones
Nicholas Thomas
Deedee Wigmore


Sir Paul Ruddock
Harold Koda
Giorgio Riello
Michele Beiny Harkins


Sir Nicholas Goodison
Alvar González-Palacios
Marie-Louise Bech Nosch
Titi Halle