Wilhelmine “Helme” Prinzen, who passed away in 2007, left her more than $1 million estate in Paradise Valley to the ASU Art Museum. She had originally planned for her donation to remain anonymous, but later changed her mind to encourage others to consider including the ASU Art Museum in their estate planning.

Prinzen’s endowment will be used to assist and advance emerging artists through exhibitions organized by the museum and purchases of works by emerging artists for the museum’s permanent collection. In addition, the endowment will fund research and education in the area of contemporary art with emphasis on emerging artists.

“The Prinzen Endowment recognizes the ASU Art Museum’s history and ongoing commitment to exhibitions, publications and educational programs that focus on emerging artists,” says Heather Lineberry, senior curator and interim director of the ASU Art Museum. “Helme’s bequest significantly enhances our ability to continue these programs and to provide extraordinary experiences with contemporary art and artists for our students and audiences.”

Prinzen loved the ASU Art Museum, a place she found that reciprocated her interest in contemporary art, especially that of emerging artists.

“While Helme recognized that showing the work of artists already consecrated by art history or the market was important, she was attracted to our more adventurous approach,” says Marilyn Zeitlin, retired director of the ASU Art Museum and curator of its 2000 exhibition of Prinzen’s work, the first in a U.S. museum. “We were the first to show and collect work by Heidi Kumao, Einar and Jamex de la Torre, and gave the American audiences the first opportunity to see the works of Cuban artists in 1998. Helme liked that we often produce the first printed documentation of emerging artists’ work.”