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William C. and Elizabeth Brainard Sandwick Fund

Betty Sandwick opened a fund at Akron Community Foundation to support the Akron Art Museum forever in her and her husband’s name.

“(My) grandmother was one of the founders of the Pasadena Playhouse,” Betty said. “She took me when I was 3 years old to see Lily Pons in ‘Madama Butterfly,’ which of course was an art, music and theater experience. I guess I’ve loved it ever since.”

And art wasn’t just part of her family; her family was part of art. Her great uncle, Samuel Pierpont Langley, was the third secretary of the Smithsonian, and her husband, businessman William Sandwick, attended Yale with artist Claes Oldenburg.

“I taught school while my husband went to (college), and we were starving to death, but art is almost always free, and we were in a position to take advantage of all of that,” she said.

Upon relocating to Akron, Betty found a sanctuary in the Akron Art Museum, where she became a docent within three months of moving here. “The wonderful part about being a docent is … it’s an education experience,” she said. “There’s a lot here to learn, and all the time. That’s the beauty of being in a museum: It’s a changing experience, and enriching.” 

When the art museum announced plans for a major expansion, Betty decided to give back to the institution that had given her so much. She opened the William C. and Elizabeth Brainard Sandwick Fund at Akron Community Foundation, both to support the new building’s construction and to support the museum forever in her and her husband’s name.

“Look how the museum has turned out,” she said. “It’s very rewarding, like having a garden and seeing it grow.”