At the end of this month, Jim Flaws, chairman of the Museum’s Board of Directors, will retire from Corning Incorporated after 42 years of service. For the last 17 years, he has held the position of vice chairman and chief financial officer for the company.
As Jim concludes his time at Corning, we wanted to highlight his involvement with the Museum. He and his wife Marcia Weber have enjoyed visiting the Museum since they moved to Corning in the 1970s, becoming more and more involved over time, even helping jumpstart plans for The Studio in the ’90s.
We asked Museum president and executive director, Karol Wight, to talk about Jim’s significant contributions to the Museum.
“In my view, Jim approaches his role as a trustee from a number of different perspectives,” she said. “First, from his leadership position in Corning Incorporated in terms of securing funding for the Museum and its activities. We would not have built the Contemporary Art + Design Wing were it not for Jim’s wholehearted support for this project—and for him realizing it was a necessity on a number of fronts, to enable the contemporary collection to be displayed appropriately, and to expand our footprint to better serve our increasing number of visitors.
“He also approaches his role from an artistic position,” Karol continued, “in the sense that he and his wife Marcia Weber are collectors of contemporary glass and have been for many years. Jim has always had a very deep interest in how the collection grows and is shaped.”
Jim has served on the Museum’s acquisition committee for many years, and as Karol notes, approves acquisitions very respectfully.
“Personal taste is always there, but he takes the curators’ opinions into thoughtful consideration,” she said. “His aesthetic, his taste as a collector, has touched the Museum, and also, of course enabled it to grow through the gifts he and Marcia have given to the Museum over the years.”
Jim and Marcia have contributed to the acquisition of significant pieces to the Museum’s collection—many of which are prominently displayed in the new wing—including Through the Cone by Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová, Endeavor by Lino Tagliapietra, and, in part, The Portland Panels: Choreographed Geometry by Klaus Moje.
For Karol, having a supportive and passionately involved chairman of the board is essential to the future success of the Museum.
“Certainly from his years of experience at Corning and being part of the team that helped to steer that company out of the difficulties of the late 1990s and into the future, he understands how organizations change and grow and thrive,” she said. “He has always given us extremely sound advice about our role globally, but in the community, as well, and I always keep his words in the back of my mind.”
Jim has been chairman of the Museum’s board since 2007, and intends to continue to serve on the Museum’s board after his retirement from Corning. He and Marcia plan to remain an active part of the community they have called home for more than 40 years.