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John and Sue Wieland 

Atlanta is a city that seems to be teeming with green. As far as the eye can see, there are mega-mansions, luxury cars, booming development and bling to burn. Tell it to the arts, a notoriously cash-poor relation in Atlanta’s boom town. While big-money art benefactors are few and far between, people like JOHN and SUE WIELAND are the exception. The $12 million gift the chairman of John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods and his wife gave for the High Museum’s $130 million expansion, debuting this November, ranked as the largest individual gift in the museum’s history. Wieland began his home-building empire in 1970 and has made philanthropy his avocation, as a member of the High’s board of directors since 1988 (and chairman for three years) and current chairman of the building committee. Just to show you what a little generosity can get you: Wieland has a building named after him — the largest in the expansion, the Wieland Pavilion — and we’re guessing free admission for life. Maybe now some of Atlanta’s well-heeled citizens will take Wieland’s largesse as a challenge, and start chipping in some of their cash, too.

See related:

- Poets, Artists & Madmen: Best Museum The High Museum of Art (Reader pick)
- Poets, Artists & Madmen: Best Museum Makeover High Museum of Art (Critic pick)
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