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$500,000 Gift Given to Housatonic Museum of Art by Werth Family Foundation

(l-r) HMA Director Robbin Zella, Deborah Bachard, Peter J. Werth Jr., and Housatonic Community College CEO Dr. Dwayne Smith

BRIDGEPORT, CT (August 12, 2021) The Housatonic Museum of Art (HMA) today announced a landmark gift of $500,000 from the Werth Family Foundation. The donation represents the largest contribution from a single donor in the history of the museum to date and will establish an endowment.

In honor of the gift, the Werth Family Foundation Atrium will be established at the entry to the museum’s Burt Chernow galleries, located on the Housatonic Community College (HCC) campus in Bridgeport. A naming ceremony will be held in the spring of 2022.

The Werth Family Foundation is a longtime supporter of the Housatonic Museum of Art, donating nearly $900,000 in total since 2004. This gift underscores the importance of supporting the arts in the greater Bridgeport region.

“Supporting the museum is something the Werth Family Foundation is proud of. We have helped them with all components of their mission, including education, preservation and exhibits,” said Deborah Bachard, a member of the Werth Family, a Foundation officer and advocate for the HMA.

Bachard, a Monroe resident and fine arts painter, donated one of her paintings commemorating John Lennon to the museum’s collection. In addition to funding, she also participates in planning museum fundraisers and acquaints the museum with other artists and donors.

“Because we have supported the museum for so long, we’ve watched it grow. In seeing the needs of the care of the collection, and the curating process, we want to make sure that the collection is protected, and we think the endowment is the best way to that. Hopefully others will join in and realize how important it is too,” said Bachard.

The museum, home to one of the premier college art collections in the country, is unique in that its collection is on continuous display throughout the 400,000 square foot facility. Creating an environment filled with artwork allows students and visitors to enjoy and learn about art continually, but also places stress on the collection.

“We are grateful to the Werth Family Foundation for this most generous gift, and Deborah has been a true partner, she’s not an arms-length donor,” said Robbin Zella, Director of the Housatonic Museum of Art.

“Establishing this endowment will sustain the care and preservation of the collection, and we are deeply thankful.”

“The museum is a hidden gem in Bridgeport, and supporting it is rewarding. It’s ever-changing, you meet people from all walks of life, ages, and sensibilities, and if you want to be stimulated, it’s a great place to be,” said Bachard.

Housatonic Museum of Art hosts changing exhibitions and engaging lectures, workshops, films, special events and programs throughout the year, both in person and online. Visit to learn more.


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