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Ford Foundation Gives a Major Contribution of $3 Million to African Art Museum
In recognition of the Foundation’s generosity, the Museum will name the lobby of the building—which opens in fall 2011—the “Ford Foundation Lobby.”

NEW YORK, N.Y.- Elsie McCabe Thompson, president, the Museum for African Art, announced that the Museum has received a major contribution of $3 million from the Ford Foundation. The grant supports the final stage of construction of the Museum’s new building, which is located on Fifth Avenue at 110th Street and has been designed by the New York City-based Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP.

In recognition of the Foundation’s generosity, the Museum will name the lobby of the building—which opens in fall 2011—the “Ford Foundation Lobby.” With its contribution, the Foundation joins other generous private donors to the Museum, including David Rockefeller, John Tishman, and the Walt Disney Company, among others, and brings to $76 million the total raised for the $90 million project.

Mrs. McCabe Thompson stated, “The Museum for African Art is thrilled to find in the Ford Foundation a partner that shares its commitment to bringing the full spectrum of Africa’s arts and cultures to diverse audiences in New York City and beyond. We are deeply grateful to the Foundation for this generous and important gift, which provides critical support for completion of our new building. Ford’s vision and generosity will be a compelling example for others.”

Ford Foundation President Luis A. Ubiñas adds, “The Ford Foundation is delighted to support the Museum for African Art in this important and timely project. The Foundation is committed to nurturing art and education initiatives that reflect the cultural richness of our society. The Museum has advanced broad understanding of that richness through its exhibitions, publications, and programs, which have reached millions of people. The Ford Foundation is proud that its name will be among those welcoming visitors to the new Museum for African Art.”

Building Project
The Museum for African Art is internationally recognized as a preeminent source of exhibitions and publications related to traditional and contemporary African art and culture. Since opening to the public in 1984, it has operated from three different locations in New York City: on the Upper East Side (1984–92), in the SoHo district (1992–2002), and in Long Island City, Queens. In 2002, it closed its gallery space in Queens in order to focus on developing plans for its new, larger facility. Today, as it prepares to move into its new quarters—the first that it will own—the Museum is expanding the size and scope of its programs in anticipation of larger and more diverse audiences.

The Museum’s Fifth Avenue home will link the northern end of Manhattan’s “Museum Mile” with Harlem, one of the country’s historic and contemporary centers of African-American culture. Comprising some 75,000 square feet of space, the public areas of the new building will include about 15,000 square feet of gallery space; the Ford Foundation Lobby, which contains 5,000 square feet of informal exhibition space, in addition to ticketing and information services; a 245-seat theater; an education center; a shop; and a restaurant. An outdoor plaza across from the northeast corner of Central Park will provide additional space for public programs.

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