David W. Horvitz ’74 H’98 remembers enjoying the pair of art and art history classes he took while at Kenyon, on his way to a history major. But it was thanks to his wife of 38 years, Francie Bishop Good, that his love for art really brightened. An artist herself — when they met Good had paintings stored under the bed in her small apartment and even painted on her kitchen table — she had a drive to expose them both to as many museums and galleries as a day could hold. “Over those years, I grew to more enjoy and appreciate art — and appreciate the questions it asks me,” he said.
In Gambier, The Gund is the focus of Horvitz’s artistic interest and investment. “For students, if you’re going to have a liberal arts and sciences education, it’s so important that you have meaningful exposure to the arts, an important part of humanity. The Gund has upped that game for students,” he said.
To further enhance and elevate The Gund, Horvitz and Good made a gift to endow the position at the helm, to ensure its ability to attract strong leadership in perpetuity. Daisy Desrosiers, who joined the gallery in 2021, is the inaugural David and Francie Horvitz Family Foundation Director of the Gund Gallery at Kenyon College.
Desrosiers expressed her gratitude for Horvitz’s commitment to the teaching museum, which connects people with art and artists, new ideas, and each other. “It’s a dream scenario,” she said of leading an institution with a committed, inspired, and open-minded board of directors, including Horvitz, who is also a Kenyon trustee.
“He's been an engaged, sincere and very thoughtful interlocutor to the gallery,” she said. In addition to their gifts to endowment, Horvitz and Good have made major gifts of artwork to The Gund, including “Dancing at the Louvre (The French Collection Part 1: #1),” 1991 by Faith Ringgold (American, b. 1930), “Discord,” 2009 by Alison Saar (American b. 1956), and “Two Women with Child” c. 1973 by Romare Bearden (American 1911-1988), amongst others. “David and Francie are remarkable human beings. They are astute collectors leading with curiosity, and generosity. It is a true honor to carry their legacy and deep engagement with the arts through their special gift.”
President Julie Kornfeld lauded Horvitz’s thoughtful support for the long-term vision for The Gund. “Kenyon is fortunate to have David as a member of both boards, where he is uniquely positioned to understand the balance of supporting both the College and The Gund. In creating this endowment, he and Francie elevate both entities while deepening their fervent support for the arts at Kenyon.”
In recognition of their many other gifts to Kenyon, the spacious studio arts building behind Rosse Hall was named in their honor in 2012.
“The Gund is fortunate to have many generous supporters, including Kenyon, but as a separate 501(c)(3), we want to ensure it has its own funding far into the future,” said Horvitz, who is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of SouthOcean Capital Partners.
While the endowment funds the position in perpetuity, Horvitz said The Gund is lucky to have Desrosiers today. “She brings an intensity and brilliance of thought as to how to best position The Gund to create meaningful — maybe even life-changing — experiences for the students. Everything she does is about students. She raises the profile of the museum around the country and around the world. She has goals and aspirations for the museum that are wonderful and challenging.”
In September, the gallery introduced its new name — The Gund — and celebrated the opening of The Annex in Mount Vernon, a new location dedicated to art education which offers workshops, creative activities, and events inspired by The Gund’s growing permanent collection.
“The programs The Gund offers are unique and groundbreaking,” Horvitz said. “This endowment is a vote of confidence, but it’s much more about the future of the museum.”
Read more in Kenyon's News Archive.