Leaving Her Legacy: The Gift of Art

By Dr. Rodney Allen Schwartz, Director, Westminster Gallery and Archive

The Rev. Elizabeth Downing Heller (known as Liz) had a life-long passion for collecting art and chose to share her passion as a gift to Westminster. Liz started collecting Christian art while a seminary student. She purchased art from students and teachers, artists encountered on her travels, and well-known artists with whom she became acquainted. Liz and I co-chaired the task force that created the Westminster Gallery in 2002; early exhibitions featured art from her collection. Through the years she regularly made gifts of art to Westminster. The majority of her collection came in 2016 when she moved to a nursing home, and the remainder was gifted following her death in 2019.

Liz also made a generous Legacy Gift through Westminster’s Legacy Program that created the Visual Art Legacy Fund specifically for the acquisition and conservation of art. This new fund provides an annual income that can be spent, while the original funds build interest.

The Visual Art Fund is a second fund that also supports the Westminster Gallery and Collection. This fund is not part of the endowment and gives the curator and art committee flexibility in reacting quickly to opportunities to acquire art.

Westminster is grateful to Liz Heller for sharing her vision and passion for art with us and the greater community.

Contributions to either art fund can be made at any time. Please contact Mary Hess, Director of Stewardship, or visit westminstermpls.org/legacy-giving for information on making a Legacy Gift through your will or estate plan.