Portrait of a Patron: Townsend Wolfe

Townsend Wolfe served as executive director and chief curator of the Arkansas Arts Center from 1968 until 2002. During his tenure, he ushered in a new era of community support while simultaneously establishing the Arts Center’s national reputation. In 1968, Wolfe left a position at the Ford Foundation to become the Executive Director of the Arkansas Arts Center, tackling financial stress, balancing budgets and raising money to begin purchasing new works for the collection – works that would foreshadow decades of dedicated collecting. Recognizing a niche where the Arts Center could make a significant contribution, Wolfe’s collecting focused on works on paper and contemporary craft objects. Wolfe’s vision extended to all corners of the organization and community, and his influence remains strong to this day.