NEWPORT, R.I. – William Vareika, longtime Newport art gallery owner, preservationist and philanthropist, will be awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters during Salve Regina University’s 61st commencement on Sunday, May 15.
One of the largest art galleries in New England, William Vareika Fine Arts, Ltd. includes the renowned Newport Gallery of American Art and Newport Gallery of World Art., specializing in the purchase and sale of important 18th, 19th and 20th century works of art.
For more than 20 years, Vareika has used his gallery to raise public awareness about a variety of charitable causes and to donate over $1 million to support these non-profit organizations. Honored as a “Partner in Philanthropy” by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Vareika has donated dozens of artworks to museums and other charitable organizations.
He was instrumental in acquiring 13 of John La Farge’s stained-glass windows (circa 1890) that were restored and installed in Salve Regina’s recently constructed Our Lady of Mercy Chapel. He has also frequently donated artwork for Salve Regina’s corporate golf tournaments and given financial support for the award-winning restoration of Ochre Court, which serves as the university’s main administration building.
In addition, he established the William Vareika Fine Arts Ltd Award for Arts and Public Policy, which is presented annually to a graduating senior who demonstrates an appreciation or talent for art as well as a social conscience.
Other local organizations to benefit from Vareika’s charitable giving over the years include Save the Bay, Newport Art Museum, the Aquidneck Land Trust and the Potter League for Animals, among others.
He has served on the boards of the Newport Art Museum, the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, the Newport Music Festival, and Save The Bay. He also serves on a number of advisory committees, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College; the Trinity Boston Preservation Trust, the Hope Funds for Cancer Research, and the Aquidneck Land Trust. He is a former Vice-Chairman of the RI State Council on the Arts.
Vareika is an active alumnus of his alma mater, Boston College, where he graduated in 1974 with a degree in political science. He donated a collection of artworks to that university’s McMullen Museum of Art, where he serves as a member of the Patrons Committee.
Vareika and his wife Alison have three children and live in an 1877 National Historic Register home in Newport.