Have you ever stood under the oculus at the Museum of Art? Have you ever listened to a concert in the main area of the museum? Have you ever grabbed a treat during an Art After Dark? This space, where so many of the museum’s events takes place, is called the Ernst M. and Ida K. Lied Gallery. The Lied gallery is at the heart of the museum, a connecting space between exhibitions, to gaze down upon from the café above, or a place to rest or wait for friends. The Lied Gallery was made possible because of the generous patronage of the Lied Foundation, whose sole trustee is Christina Hixson.
Christina Hixson was born in Clarinda, Iowa. She grew up in a meager tenant farming family, however after graduating high school in 1944, she began to work for Ernst F. Lied in Nebraska. His Buick car dealership was converted to a miniature factory that made wing nuts and spools for airplane motors during World War II. After the war, he went back to selling cars and insurance. Christina eventually become his secretary and accountant at the dealership. In 1958, Lied no longer thought that Buick did not make a good car anymore, so he sold his business and moved to Las Vegas, where he predicted there would tremendous growth and development. Christina went with him. Together, they built a real estate business, seventy-nine houses, a shopping center, and a hundred-unit motel along the Vegas strip.
In 1972, shortly before his death, Mr. Lied established the Lied Foundation Trust in honor of his parents Ernst M. and Ida K. Lied. After his death, Christina was charged with looking after his affairs and to oversee the foundation. He did not leave any specific instructions about what to fund with his philanthropic contributions, so Christina decided to help kids who had few educational opportunities in the hopes they would give back to their communities the same she has been able to give back. She has donated to universities and institutions in Nebraska, Las Vegas, and Utah.
Early on in its inception, The Museum of Art received a generous donation from the Lied Foundation. The main lobby area under the oculus is named the Ernst M. And Ida K. Lied Gallery in honor of the support from the Lied foundation. The Lied Gallery has been the home to many installations, currently the Plexus no. 29 by Gabriel Dawe. The Museum is profoundly grateful for the generosity of the Lied Foundation under the direction and discretion of Christina Hixson.