BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Art Modell not only brought football back to Baltimore, he also breathed new life into the arts and charitable causes with millions of dollars in donations over a decade.

Mary Bubala has more.

Art Modell and his wife Pat Modell’s generosity is a reflection of what was near to their hearts.

In 2010, the Modells’ $3.5 million donation to the Lyric Opera House stands as one of the largest gifts ever made to a Baltimore arts organization.

The Walters Art Museum, along with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Museum of Art, also received donations from the Modells. They loved the arts, but after WJZ spoke with 15-year-old Chris Miller at The SEED School of Maryland, it is easy to understand why the Modells’ biggest gift went there.

“AP psychology, AP history, trigonometry, AP English, composition, biology,” Chris Miller, a student at The SEED School of Maryland, said of the classes he takes.

Miller is brilliant, but without the Modells’ $5 million donation to The SEED School in Southwest Baltimore, there is a good chance he and hundreds of other bright, disadvantaged students from Maryland would not fulfill their potential.

“I may come from a rough neighborhood from home but when you are in an environment where all they talk about is going to college and doing your homework and getting good grades, you sort of conform to that environment,” Miller said.

Construction is underway on the Modell Academic Center at The SEED School. It will house state-of-the-art classrooms, a library and an auditorium.

“They would walk around the remnants of Southwestern Baltimore and see the auditorium and say, ‘We’ve got to do this, they need an auditorium so they can have big meetings and they could have drama and theater, and they need a library too. Let’s get them books.’ And Art would say, ‘What else do they need?’ They would look around and see the possibility,” James Turner, director of program at The SEED School of Maryland, said.

The Modell Academic Center will open one year from now.

The Modells also gave millions to Johns Hopkins Hospital to establish the Heart Institute.


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