If the names Ira J. Gaines and Cheryl Hintzen-Gaines are familiar to you, it isn’t surprising. You will see them included in donor listings in playbills and for myriad charities, causes and institutions in the Valley, nationally and internationally, including Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, Hillel and AIPAC.
One of the popular local points of pride that benefits from the largesse of this philanthropic pair is the Musical Instrument Museum (mim.org). Located at 4725 E. Mayo Blvd. in Phoenix the MIM is the world’s only global musical instrument museum with more than 6,800 instruments on display from around the world. Since 2012, Ira and Cheryl have funded general museum operations. As part of a broad program to name exhibits, the Gaines “were presented with and accepted the opportunity to sponsor the museum’s Israel display,” explains Chayada Pearson, museum institutional advancement associate, whose husband is Colin Pearson, MIM curator for Asia, Oceania and the Middle East. “It seemed a perfect opportunity to match their heritage and their passion.”
Their sponsorship of the Israel exhibit in the Middle East Gallery represents, says Cheryl, “pride in our heritage and our desire to share that with all MIM visitors. Music is the language of love and healing,” she says, “and no place conveys that message better than the MIM.” Ira adds, “I come from Brooklyn, and she is from Chicago, but we both were raised with similar values. And we are very proud of this museum that even has the best acoustics in a small auditorium of any place in the country.”
Chayada explains that an Israel exhibit has been included from the opening of the MIM in 2010, but was significantly enhanced some two years later when a field consultant traveled to the Jewish state to collect instruments “reflecting a broad crossroad of Israeli residents.”
Instruments on display include an oud (a lute-type, pear-shaped stringed instrument) with mother-of-pearl inlay and variously sized shofars made from hollowed out animal horns. Monitors and earphones enable guests to see and hear artists “who make a point of using music and collaboration to promote peace,” she says.
MIM executive director April Salomon makes the point that the Gainses “have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in our community over the last four decades. We are proud and honored to be among the more than 30 organizations they have chosen to support in such meaningful ways.”
According to MIM curator Colin Pearson, “Our data shows that the Israel exhibit is one of the most visited displays in the whole museum. It reflects a part of the world where many people have interest and affinity – and it doesn’t hurt that it is located in one of the most prominent museum locations!”