An Iowa couple who has given over $100 million to colleges, hospitals and museums have been honored with a prestigous national award for their contributions to the arts.
John and Mary Pappajohn of Des Moines received the 2013 National Arts Award for Philanthropy in the Arts. Last year’s winner was the co-founder of Microsoft. An invitation-only event was held in New York City last night to recognize the Pappajohns as well as four others, including blue legend B.B. King. The group “Americans for the Arts” praised the Pappajohns for donating 27 pieces of sculpture which now form the “core collection” of the four-and-a-half acre Sculpture Park in downtown Des Moines.
ARTnews magazine has recognized the Pappajohns as among the top 200 art collectors in the world.
John Pappajohn’s family moved from Greece to the U.S. when he was nine months old and he grew up in Mason City. He founded an insurance company in 1962 and sold it a few years later, using the profits to become one of the country’s first venture capitalists.
Both of the Pappajohns have served as trustees for the Des Moines Art Center as well as the National Committee of the Performing Arts for the Kennedy Center. John Pappajohn currently serves as a trustee for the National Gallery of Art as well as the Hirshhorn Museum Washington D.C. Mary Pappajohn is a director and advisor to the Walker Art Center in her hometown of Minneapolis.