Endowment Announcement

Weatherspoon Announces Establishment of the Anne and Ben Cone Memorial Directorship


The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro is excited to announce the establishment of the Anne and Ben Cone Memorial Endowed Directorship Fund at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, the first of its kind for the museum. The gift in memory of Anne and Ben Cone is made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor. The Cones were well-known, passionate, and deeply devoted patrons to the museum.

Weatherspoon Director Nancy Doll adds, “This gift is an outstanding addition to the numerous ways in which the Cone family has shown its commitment to the Weatherspoon over many years. The support is providing the director with the discretionary freedom to allocate funds where he or she sees fit. At the same time, it will serve in years to come as an attraction to future candidates for the position.”

On April 28, 2020, UNC Greensboro announced that Juliette Bianco will join the Weatherspoon as its first Anne and Ben Cone Memorial Endowed Director. Bianco will succeed Nancy Doll, who retires on July 31, 2020, after 22 years of dedicated and successful service.

“I am thrilled and honored to be joining the Weatherspoon Art Museum,” stated Bianco, “an institution with an inspiring legacy and diverse collection that I have long admired, as well as the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and the Greensboro community. Engaging with the art of our times has never been more important than now, and I look forward to leading the Weatherspoon’s efforts to provide a place for campus and community to learn, collaborate, and grow together.”

Anne and Ben Cone became prolific patrons of the arts in Greensboro, particularly at Anne’s alma mater, Woman’s College (now UNC Greensboro). In addition to supporting and financing the acquisition of numerous pieces to the Weatherspoon’s collection (the core of which was started by Benjamin’s aunts Claribel and Etta Cone, who gave 252 works of modern art in 1950), they also donated $2 million to finance the building which now houses the Weatherspoon Art Museum. The opening of the Anne and Benjamin Cone building in 1989 on the corner of Spring Garden and Tate Streets launched the museum’s focus on introducing art not just to students but also to the greater community, as well as expanding the scope of artists and works promoted. Anne and Ben continued to support the museum throughout their lives. Ben Cone served on the Weatherspoon Gallery Association and Acquisition Committee and Anne was an active member and Lifetime Director of the Weatherspoon Gallery Association and a founding director of the Weatherspoon Arts Foundation.

Benjamin Cone Sr. was born in New York City in 1899, the second son of Ceasar and Jeanette Cone. His family eventually moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, where his family’s textile business flourished. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1920, he was appointed to the board of directors of Cone Export & Commission Company, where he remained until 1942. He married Anne Wortham Cone in 1937. In the late 1930s, Benjamin began a long, successful career in politics and public service. He served on the North Carolina General Assembly and the Greensboro City Council and was elected as mayor of Greensboro. He acted as the President of Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital and the Children’s Home Society and was on the board of directors for the Excellence Fund at UNCG.

Anne Wortham Cone was born in Washington, D.C., in 1915. After the death of her mother, Anne was raised by an aunt and uncle in Orange, Virginia. She graduated from Salem College and then Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now UNC Greensboro), where she completed a commercial degree in 1935. Anne went to work at Cone Mills, where she met her future husband, Benjamin Cone, Sr. They married in 1937. A homemaker raising three children, Anne also dedicated herself to the Greensboro community during her husband’s political and public service career. She was a member of many local boards, including the Children’s Home Society, the YWCA, and Little Theatre, and the Greensboro Junior League.

The Anne and Ben Cone Memorial Endowed Directorship at the Weatherspoon Art Museum will be administered as an endowed fund and distributions from the fund will be used to support the activities of the director at the Weatherspoon. Purposes for which funds might be used include but are not limited to recruitment costs, funding for exhibitions, acquisitions, and education programs, and any other needs of the Weatherspoon Art Museum. Funds will be spent at the discretion of the Weatherspoon Art Museum Director.

Image inset: Benjamin Cone Sr., and Anne Wortham Cone, Weatherspoon Art Gallery, 1981.

About the Weatherspoon Art Museum

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro enriches the lives of diverse individuals and connects multiple communities, both on and off campus, by presenting, interpreting, and collecting modern and contemporary art. In recognizing its paramount role of public service, the Weatherspoon fosters an appreciation of the ability of art to positively impact lives.

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro was founded by Gregory Ivy in 1941 and is the earliest of any art facilities within the UNC system. The museum was founded as a resource for the campus, community, and region and its early leadership developed an emphasis—maintained to this day—on presenting and acquiring modern and contemporary works of art. A 1950 bequest from the renowned collection of Claribel and Etta Cone, which included prints and bronzes by Henri Matisse and other works on paper by American and European modernists, helped to establish the Weatherspoon’s permanent collection.

In 1989, the museum moved into its present location in The Anne and Benjamin Cone Building designed by the architectural firm Mitchell Giurgula. The museum has six galleries and a sculpture courtyard with over 17,000 square feet of exhibition space. The American Alliance of Museums accredited the Weatherspoon in 1995 and renewed its accreditation in 2005 and 2015.

Collections + Exhibitions
The permanent collection of the Weatherspoon Art Museum is considered to be one of the foremost of its kind in the Southeast. It represents all major art movements from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Among the nearly 6,200 works in the collection are pieces by such prominent figures as Henry Ossawa Tanner, Edward Weston, Joseph Stella, David Smith, Jackson Pollock, Elizabeth Catlett, Louise Nevelson, Gordon Parks, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Cindy Sherman, Adrian Piper, Betye Saar, Amy Silman, Nick Cave, Jennifer Steinkamp, and Sanford Biggers. The museum regularly lends to major exhibitions nationally and internationally.

The Weatherspoon also is known for its dynamic exhibition program. Through a lively annual calendar of exhibitions and a multi-disciplinary educational program for audiences of all ages, the museum provides an opportunity for visitors to consider artistic, cultural, and social issues of our time—enriching the life of our university, community, and region.

UNC Greensboro
Located in North Carolina’s third largest city, UNC Greensboro is among the most diverse, learner-centered public research universities in the state, with nearly 18,000 students in eight colleges and schools pursuing more than 150 areas of undergraduate and over 200 areas of graduate study. UNCG continues to be recognized nationally for academic excellence, access, and affordability. UNCG is ranked No. 1 most affordable institution in North Carolina for net cost by the N.Y. Times and No. 1 in North Carolina for social mobility by The Wall Street Journal — helping first-generation and lower-income students find paths to prosperity. Designated an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, UNCG is a community-engaged research institution with a portfolio of more than $67M in research and creative activity. The University’s 1,100 faculty and 1,700 staff help create an annual economic impact for the Piedmont Triad region in excess of $1B. For additional information, please visit uncg.edu and follow UNCG on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Weatherspoon Art Museum
UNC Greensboro
1005 Spring Garden Street
Greensboro, NC 27412, (336) 334-5770, weatherspoon@uncg.edu

For more information or press images, contact:
Loring Mortensen, (336) 256-1451, lamorten@uncg.edu