Have you heard of Herb and Dorothy Vogel? They’re an elderly New York couple—he worked for the post office and she was a librarian—who proved that you don’t have to be a zillionaire Saatchi to amass one of the most important collections of contemporary art on the planet. There’s a documentary about the art-world heroes—the scenes of the diminutive, kind of schlumpy couple milling about with “the beautiful people” at art openings are at once hilarious and inspiring. (Interesting side note: The Academy’s “Under the Wave off Kanagawa” by Hokusai is in the doc for a split second.) They love art, and artists love them. And they are now spreading their love across the country through “The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States.” The program will distribute 2,500 works from the Vogels’ collection of contemporary art—50 works are going to a selected art institution in each of the 50 states. The Honolulu Academy of Arts was chosen for Hawai‘i! We’re thrilled by this incredible, generous gift.

Artists whose work is being donated to the Academy include Robert Barry, Don Hazlitt, Bill Jensen, Steve Keister, Mark Kostabi, Joel Perlman, David Reed, Judy Rifka, Richard Tuttle, and Ruth Vollmer.

“The Academy is fortunate indeed to have been invited to participate in Fifty Works for Fifty States, and we are absolutely delighted to accept this generous gift,” says Theresa Papanikolas, the Academy’s Curator of European and American Art. “The Vogel Collection is one of the most significant collections of minimalist and mid-century drawings in existence, and one whose back story and development have always fascinated and inspired me. This will be a jewel in the crown in the Academy’s already strong holdings in 20th-century work on paper. I really admire Mr. and Mrs. Vogel for being so creative in bringing their treasures to modern-art enthusiasts nationwide, and I’m so very grateful to the National Gallery for making it happen.”

The Academy will receive the works next year and will exhibit them within the next five years, as well as publish a catalogue.

Listen to a podcast on the Vogels and their collection from the National Gallery of Art.