Hedda von Goeben is a longtime supporter and donor of the Kentucky Folk Art Center (KFAC) and its mission to shine a light on both the artists and the culture of the Appalachian region.
While von Goeben passed away in October 2021 at the age of 90, her support for KFAC will be felt long after her passing. The MSU Foundation announced that von Goeben left an estate gift of nearly $470,000.
“We greatly appreciate Ms. von Goeben’s generous donation, which represents her passion and love for the arts,” said Rick Hesterberg, Vice President for Academic Advancement. “This endowment will go a long way in supporting the mission of the Kentucky Folk Art Center, a much-loved facility in our community that draws people from across our region and state.”
The endowment will be used for programmatic improvement opportunities outside of core operational needs. Funding can support art acquisitions, outreach programs, sales and gift shop improvements, student work allowances, and other salary needs.
Dr. Julia Finch, art teacher and acting director of KFAC, said von Goeben’s donation reflects her love for the arts and is vital for the future of KFAC.
“This substantial donation comes to the Kentucky Folk Art Center at a crucial time, after surviving state budget cuts to arts funding over the past five years as well as closure during the COVID-19 pandemic.” , Finch said. “We are delighted to be able to continue to share our collection with the Morehead community, as well as with our many foreign and international visitors thanks to Ms. von Goeben’s generosity and passion for the arts.”
Hedda von Goeben was born in Greenwich, Connecticut. She was an enthusiastic rider who bred, trained and judged horses beginning in the early 1950s and managed the equestrian program at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut from 1958 to 1966. During this time she also earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Hartford. For four decades until 2004, von Goeben served as secretary under five presidents of the Professional Horsemen’s Association.
After moving from Connecticut to Granville, Ohio, she spent her later years as an artist working in various media. She took art classes at nearby Denison University to improve her art. In honor of von Goeben, Melissa Yungbluth, curator at KFAC and director of the Golding-Yang Art Gallery, is planning an equestrian-themed exhibition for 2023 and also hopes to acquire some of his works.
“When I heard the news, I felt both excitement, surprise and relief. This donation means there is a future investment in the Kentucky Folk Art Center, as well as the possibility to make acquisitions for the collection, hire help and do outreach. This is a big deal for us,” Yungbluth said. “I’m very grateful and look forward to using the donation. to do something wonderful in his memory.”
In recognition of Hedda van Goeben’s generosity, we invite others to pledge their own support to KFAC. A member drive is being held by March 15, with a goal of 100 members. Become a member today by visiting alumni.moreheadstate.edu/kfacmember.
For more information about the Kentucky Folk Art Center, visit www.kyfolkart.org.
Photo, top: The gallery at the Kentucky Folk Art Center in Morehead.
Pictured Right (L to R): Rick Hesterberg, Vice President for University Advancement, and MSU President Dr. Jay Morgan acknowledge Hedda von Goeben’s estate gift during basketball games- ball MSU Eagle on Saturday, February 12.