Two celebrated cartoonists left officials at Ohio State’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum animated with donations to the museum totaling $500,000.
The Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation contributed $250,000 to the cartoon museum, which Jean Schulz matched. She is the wife of the late Charles Schulz, who created the comic strip “Peanuts.”
Will Eisner rose to fame for his comic strip, “The Spirit,” which first appeared in the 1940s. Eisner also wrote two books and taught at The School of Visual Arts in New York City during his eight-decade comic career, before his death in 2005 at 88 years old.
Schulz matched the Eisner Family Foundation’s donation as part of the Schulz Challenge, which included an initial donation of $1 million to the museum and a promise to match donations from other sources up to $2.5 million.
Eisner Family Foundation President Carl Gropper said Schulz’s challenge motivated the foundation to give what he says is “by far the largest commitment we’ve made so far.”
“When there was this opportunity with the Schulz Challenge to make a difference, we thought it was very important to do so,” Gropper said.
“We’re delighted with this gift,” said Jenny Robb, associate professor and curator of the museum. “Will (Eisner) was a wonderful artist and cartoonist, but also a gifted teacher, so it’s very appropriate,” she said.
The renovation of the cartoon museum will provide 40,000 square feet for the museum, including space for a seminar room named for Eisner, which will host classes, three galleries and expanded storage space, said a Dec. 15 press release from the university.
The renovation of the cartoon museum is part of the larger renovation of Sullivant Hall, where the museum will move from its current home in the Wexner Center. The university will finish the $24.4 million construction project in 2013, said the press release.
Gropper said the donation was made in the spirit of how Eisner lived his life.
“He gave very freely of his time and resources,” Gropper said, “so I think he would be thrilled about this.”
The original story contained factual errors and has been corrected. The Lantern originally reported that the creator of the comic strip “Peanuts” is Charles Schultz. In fact, his last name is Schulz. Also, the President of the Will and Ann Eisner Foundation is not Charles Gropper, but Carl Gropper.