Judy Tuckerman and Joyce Shenk are both longtime members of Donor Circles, the Wexner Center’s membership group for individual donors who make annual gifts of $1000 and above. They are also the co-chairs of the Donor Circles Council (DCC), which provides outreach and guidance for Donor Circles membership efforts and also acts as the host of the center’s Anniversary Party each November. DCC was founded in 1992 with Judy as its inaugural chair. Joyce, who is also a member of the Wexner Center Foundation Board of Trustees, joined Judy as vice chair in 2000. In this conversation, Judy and Joyce discuss their memories of the Wex, the Anniversary Party, and their involvement with DCC with Katy Reis, senior development officer for individual giving (excerpts appear in the center’s November/December calendar of events).
Katy Reis: What are your top three favorite Wex moments over the past 20 years?
Joyce Shenk: Only three from the past 20 years? There are so many! But here are a few.
The Andy Warhol exhibition—We were able to host the Andy Warhol Foundation board at our house, which was thrilling for us. We got to hang out with John Waters, Cindy Sherman, Robert Storr, and Andy’s nephew—so cool!
Louise Bourgeois receiving the Wexner Prize—She could not travel to Columbus, so Chuck and I got to be at her home in New York and got to meet her when she was presented with the prize. So wonderful!
- Robert Rauschenberg receiving the Wexner Prize—Meeting him was awesome. We had the most fun ever at a dinner at the Wexners’ Residence the night before he actually got the prize.
The Wexner Center has given us so very much in the way of challenging us and getting us to think outside of the box. We have met and become friends with so many people that love the arts because of our involvement at the center. It has enriched our lives and brings new interests into our lives every day.
Judy Tuckerman: I have so many more than three also. Here are a few, and from the very beginning.
The opening of the Wexner Center—the excitement and enthusiasm were palpable, truly a memorable experience.
Roy Lichtenstein—landing this enormous traveling exhibition really showed our community what the Wexner Center could do and bring to us.
- The Wexner Prize—each occasion has allowed us and the entire community to gain rare insights into some of the most remarkable artists of our time. One of my favorite experiences was seeing the prize presented to choreographer Bill T. Jones, whose work I enjoyed seeing throughout previous years at the Wex.
KR: The Wexner Center Anniversary Party is fast approaching. What do you look forward to at the party each November?
JT: First of all, if you like parties, you won’t find a better one. And, as an added experience, our donors and sponsors are able to enjoy and view the center’s exhibitions throughout the evening. They are always magnificent. This year it’s Annie Leibovitz, which will be particularly stunning.
JS: I look forward to watching with pride as the Wexner Center takes the spotlight at our Anniversary Party. I also love to meet and spend time with all our donors. It’s always a great night!
KR: Let’s back up in time. What first piqued your interest in the Wexner Center, and how have your interests changed over the years?
JT: When the Wexner Center opened [in 1989], the excitement really permeated the community. It was unlike anything the city or the state had ever seen, and I knew I wanted to be involved.
JS: My husband Chuck and I started collecting art about 20 years ago and we wanted to get involved with the Wexner Center as a way to educate, inspire, and entertain ourselves. It has done that and so much more. We have certainly gotten involved in different art forms such as dance, theater, and film besides the visual arts.
Katy Reis: Judy, can you describe how the DCC started?
Judy Tuckerman: Twenty years ago, I volunteered to create a group of individuals who were excited about the Wexner Center and were motivated to share their enthusiasm with others in our community and beyond. Every single year since then I feel like we have generated more interest.
KR: Joyce, what do you find most fulfilling about your role as co-chair of the DCC?
JS: I feel very fortunate to be able to be a trustee and also a co-chair of the Donor Circles Council for an organization I am so passionate about. I love being able to share my passion for contemporary art and my love of the Wex. I enjoy getting to know so many different people who also have a love of the arts.