The museum’s development department helps keep the lights on and everything in motion. They position the museum for sustained growth with work ranging from securing corporate sponsorships, writing grant proposals and making sure people include the museum in their estate plans, not to mention planning donor receptions, galas, and popular events like ARTafterDARK and August Moon. Without them we wouldn’t have experienced the recent 45 percent increase in memberships. Earlier this year the development team welcomed its newest addition, development associate—and friend of cats—John Sy.

After working at the museum’s Doris Duke Theatre for more than a year, John joined the development department in July as the person who enters all our donations and keeps donor records “clean” and organized. Director of Development Jessica Welch describes John as “a gracious and professional team player who, as half of the database team that is the backbone of our operation, makes it possible for us to track our fundraising efforts.”

We asked John what is his favorite work in the museum. He had this to say about the 13-foot-tall wooden doors on view in the India Gallery:

“I love the carved wooden doors in the Indian art gallery, the sheer size of the doors and the intricacy of the craftsmanship in its detail absolutely amaze me every time I walk into the space. To me the doors could be a gateway between the world as we know it and the realm of mysticism and mythology that may lay just beneath its surface. Or so I’d like to think anyway.”

Carved Wooden Doors
India, South India, ca. 18th century
Wood with metal
Gift of The Jhamandas Watumull Family in honor of Jhamandas Watumull, 1985