Ailing Museums Receive $24 Million in Emergency Grants from Mellon Foundation

Experts are forecasting a bleak future for U.S. museums struggling to make it through a pandemic. In July, the American Alliance of Museums released the findings of a survey that predicted the closure of 12,000 U.S. museums as a result of the coronavirus—a blow that the AAMD said “will be devastating for communities, economies, education systems, and our cultural history.” Now, in an attempt to mitigate the damage, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York has released nearly $24 million in grants to ailing museums.

As announced on Thursday, a new program called the Art Museum Futures Fund is intended to support midsize art museums in a time of crisis. The first round of grants will go to 12 museums across the U.S., with each receiving grants of different scales (the highest being $5.5 million). The next round will offer $3 million grants to small museums.

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In a statement, Mellon Foundation president Elizabeth Alexander said, “Cultural organizations like these small and midsized art museums are essential to the vibrancy of their communities and they are experiencing unprecedented financial vulnerability as a result of the pandemic. We are determined to safeguard these institutions at this time of national crisis, and we believe firmly in their mission to protect and preserve the visionary voices and transformative histories of their communities.”

The museums set to receive Art Museum Futures Fund grants are:

  • Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
  • Brooklyn Museum, New York
  • El Museo del Barrio, New York
  • Institute of Contemporary Art Boston
  • McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
  • Nevada Museum of Art, Reno
  • Oakland Museum of California
  • Pérez Art Museum Miami
  • Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Queens Museum, New York
  • Studio Museum in Harlem, New York


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