UNCG Campus Weekly

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Weatherspoon announces major acquisition endowment

The Weatherspoon Art Museum announces the establishment of the Rodney M. Ouzts and Massimo Fantechi Acquisition Endowment Fund. The initial contribution to establish the fund is $50,000, with an additional $1,000,000 as a testamentary gift.

Rodney M. Ouzts is a 1982 graduate of UNCG, where he received a BA in speech communications with a minor in English. He was born in Gastonia, North Carolina, and worked for a number of years in UNCG’s Bryan School of Business. Massimo Fantechi was born in Florence, Italy, and is a graduate of the University of Florence, where he studied political science. Before retirement in 2019, Massimo owned Twisted Paper Products, a Greensboro-based manufacturing company established in 1977. Although Massimo did not attend UNCG, he has always been impressed with the sophistication and breadth of the Weatherspoon Art Museum’s permanent collection as well as the professionalism of Director Nancy Doll and her staff. As a couple, they have always placed a high priority on visiting art museums during their travels, especially during their stays in Italy, where they also spend a lot of time.

Rodney and Massimo are proud to support such an important part of Greensboro’s cultural offerings and UNC Greensboro’s heritage. “We are extremely grateful to Rodney and Massimo for their incredibly generous gift. It also is wonderfully gratifying to know that the Weatherspoon holds such a strong place in their hearts,” says museum director Nancy Doll. “As sophisticated, worldly travelers, they have visited some of the major museums in this country and abroad, so their recognition of the Weatherspoon’s value to campus and community is humbling, as well.”

For Rodney, supporting the Weatherspoon Art Museum is personal and important. He remembers spending hours in the former Weatherspoon Art Gallery after his Art History 101 class, seeing works by artists they had just discussed there. Thanks to friends who worked in the gallery as interns and assistants, he was able to hear and see how a museum operates behind the scenes, and credits WAM for sparking his interest in the visual arts and love of art galleries and museums. Joining the Weatherspoon Arts Foundation and serving as president from 2013 to 2015 cemented the relationship with the Weatherspoon.

The Ouzts/Fantechi Endowment Fund will support future purchases of art, in accordance with the museum’s art acquisition and collection management policies. “Their gift,” says Doll, “will increase our ability to acquire important works that will augment our already highly respected permanent collection.”

Image: Rodney M. Ouzts in front of William Bailey’s Still Life with Bottle, Bowl and Eggs, 1970, Museum purchase with funds from the North Carolina National Bank and the Smith Richardson Foundation, 1971. Photo: Carolyn de Berry.