Southland philanthropists Anissa and Paul John Balson have donated $5 million to the J. Paul Getty Villa to establish a fund supporting the study and display of art of the ancient world.

The gift will establish The Balson Family Endowed Fund, and in recognition of the donation, the Getty Villa will establish the position of Anissa and Paul John Balson II Senior Curator of Antiquities.

“We’ve been impressed the Getty has placed a new emphasis on the diverse cultures of the ancient world that impacted and inspired the Greeks and Romans, including the Egyptians, Persians, Nubians, and Assyrians,” Paul Balson, founder of Balson Capital Management, said in a statement. “We hope to see more exhibits and programs that bring in new voices and perspectives for these foundational cultures and peoples.”

Anissa Balson, a great-granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst and a director/vice president of the Hearst Foundations, said she and her husband “want to affirm the global mission of the Getty, which funds conservation and scholarly programs around the world and provides grants to many arts organizations and museums.”

The couple both serve on the J. Paul Getty Villa Council.

“This generous gift from Anissa and Paul will be truly transformative to the Villa as we deepen our exploration of the classical world and its connections with other ancient cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East,” Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, said in a statement. “This will give new impetus and focus to our ambition of providing visitors, both at the Villa and through digital platforms around the world, with a richer appreciation of the importance and legacy of the diverse cultures of antiquity. The research, scholarship, exhibitions, and educational and public programs that it enables will greatly enrich the lives of future visitors for generations to come.”

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