Philanthropist Bonnie Ann Larson Donates $5M to Detroit Institute of Arts


Bonnie Ann Larson, a Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) board member, has made a $5 million donation to the museum’s operating endowment. In recognition, the DIA has established the Bonnie Ann Larson Modern European Masters Series, an initiative that will support the study and exhibition of masterpieces by Van Gogh, Matisse, Renoir, and Monet.

Larson was elected to the DIA’s board in 2004, but has been involved with the museum since the 1980s. She has been a member of 11 different auxiliary support groups and served on several of their boards.

“I was standing in the Great Hall and taken aback not only by the beauty of what I saw before me, but the emotion it evoked from within me,” Larson says of her first Founders Junior Council meeting. “And that was the beginning. Since that day, that moment, I have been dedicated to bringing that experience to as many others as I can.”

Larson has also served as a docent, giving students and adults tours of the DIA, and has contributed to the success of several DIA fundraisers, including the annual gala. She was co-chair for the 2011 gala, which raised more than $1 million for the DIA.

“Bonnie’s generosity and leadership as a board member and longtime volunteer serve as an inspiration to everyone who cherishes the DIA,” says Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA’s director. “She loves our art collection, understands its benefits for our society, and knows how crucial it is to build an operating endowment, which will ensure that the DIA will continue serving future generations.”

In recognition of her years of service and support, Larson was granted a Lifetime Service Award in 2014. Both she and her late husband, Robert Larson, former CEO of Taubman Centers Inc. in Bloomfield Hills, supported major fundraising campaigns over the years and have a gallery of European modern art named in their honor.