Three St. Louis nonprofit arts organizations today announce that a generous and unexpected gift close to $3 million has been bequeathed by the estate trust of Louetta A. Buechler, a long-time area resident and local artist.
The three organizations, Craft Alliance, Laumeier Sculpture Park, and St. Louis Artists’ Guild, are the recipients of the bequest and will share the proceeds equally. This is one of the largest individual gifts that each of these organizations has ever received, and it will be distributed in several installments throughout 2022. Buechler, a resident of Manchester, MO passed away December 20, 2020. While she had been a loyal member and supporter of each organization for more than a decade, her generous gift came as an incredible surprise to all three.
“We are sincerely grateful to Ms. Buechler, a long-time Craft Alliance member, for this wonderful commitment to artistic excellence in the St. Louis arts community,” said Mark Witzling, Executive Director of Craft Alliance. “We feel deeply fortunate that this gift allows us to further educate and enrich our community through contemporary craft."
Kathryn Nahorski, Executive Director of St. Louis Artists’ Guild, notes that Ms. Buechler was a painter who participated in Artists’ Guild shows and classes. She made her colorful abstract paintings in her home studio, surrounded by plants. Lou, as she was known to her close friends, filled her retirement years with her three loves: art, gardening and travel.
“We are thankful for her extraordinary gift and that she found meaningful opportunities for regional artists at the St. Louis Artists’ Guild. Her generosity ensures our vibrant programming for future generations,” Nahorski said.
“With this wonderful gift, Ms. Buechler leaves a legacy that will help the St. Louis artistic community for years to come,” said Lauren Ross, Executive Director of Laumeier Sculpture Park. “It also beautifully illustrates the dramatic impact that planned giving can have. We are so grateful that she gave this level of thoughtful consideration to where she wanted her assets to continue to have an impact after her passing.”
Each organization will plan its individual use of these funds, and all expect to enhance their artistic programming for the benefit of the St. Louis community. As nonprofits, each organization relies on public and private support to fulfill their missions, including from the Arts and Education Council; the Regional Arts Commission; and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.