Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts awards $4 million to 47 arts organizations

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Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts awards $4 million to 47 arts organizations
Andrea Bowers, Dream Act (Barbed Wire), 2012. Courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts announced the recipients of its Spring 2020 grants. $4 million will be awarded to 47 organizations from 23 states to support their visual arts programs, exhibitions, and curatorial research. The biannual granting program continually draws an ambitious group of applicants; this round of grantees was selected from 250 submissions. The foundation’s overall annual grants budget is approximately $15.46 million.

The Spring 2020 grants occur at a time when arts organizations, from small, grass roots operations to large established institutions, are navigating the uncertainties around reopening timelines and protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, many organizations are finding ways to support and ally with the protests to end police violence towards black communities and to fight this country’s systemic racism. In recognition of both the financial hardships and the increased responsibilities the cultural sector is taking on, the Foundation is permitting up to 50% of every grant to be used for administrative expenses to help alleviate economic stresses.

“At this critical, epoch-defining moment, the contributions of artists to the cultural and political dialogue are more necessary than ever,” states Joel Wachs, the Foundation’s President, “We hope that the Foundation’s grants to organizations that provide artists with a platform for their objectives and protests will help to amplify their voices within their communities, in conversations across the country, and throughout the international contemporary art world.”

The Spring 2020 Grantees include 27 small to mid-sized organizations (many operating on modest budgets) whose support for artists comes in the form of exhibitions, residencies, commissions, publications, professional training, and virtual and in-person gatherings. Several first-time grantees receiving multi-year support such as Black Lunch Table (IL), Dimensions Variable (FL), and Tri-State Arts (TN) are artist founded organizations whose work supports and highlights art from a diverse cultural landscape. Other grantee programs engage with and support local communities, including Public Media Institute (IL), and the Helen Day Art Center (VT); while Blank Forms (NY) and the Maryland Film Festival (MD) organize programs of works that are more experimental in nature.

A number of grants will go to organizations whose programs are deeply invested in the careers of local artists while also remaining attuned to the national art dialogue including Antenna (LA), Blue Star Contemporary (TX), Hyde Park Art Center (IL) and Space One Eleven (AL). Other grantees include BOMB (NY) the publication whose free online archive includes 40 years of conversations among artists as well as transcripts of its oral history project of under-recognized New York Based African American artists, and other special initiatives; California Lawyers for the Arts (NY) that advocates for arts programs in prisons across the US, and The Vera List Center for Art and Politics (NY) which encourages artists, scholars and policymakers to take creative and political risks as they work toward social justice.

“In the face of the interlocking crises we are facing as a nation and as a society, the foundation is doubling down on its commitment to artists as they grapple with our difficult past, present and future,” states the Foundation’s Program Director, Rachel Bers, “We have made significant efforts to provide emergency relief to individual artists in cities across the country; at the same time, we continue to offer robust support to the organizations that nurture these artists and encourage them to take risks at every stage of their careers. They are an essential outlet for artists’ responses, reactions, experiments and visions that analyze, build, critique, and dismantle the world as it roils. Without these organizations our cultural conversations would be severely impoverished.”

The core values of the Warhol Foundation drive its grant programs to actively seek and highlight the work of under-represented practitioners. Of the 15 museums that will receive Spring 2020 Grants for exhibition support, several will focus on the careers of influential and under-recognized artists including Colby College Museum of Art (ME), presenting an exhibition of works by Bob Thompson who examined the tradition of European painting’s exclusionary history by recasting classical compositions; and the Columbus Museum (GA) with Alma W. Thomas: Everything is Beautiful, the first comprehensive exploration of Thomas’s artistic journey and influence as an educator and painter. El Museo del Barrio (NY) will present the first major retrospective in three decades of the museum’s founder and first director, Raphael Montañez Ortíz; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (IL) will debut the first solo museum show of longtime activist Andrea Bowers.

Other exhibitions will highlight diverse communities of artists such as first time grantee DePaul Art Museum (IL) which will launch a multi-year Latinx Initiative aimed at increasing the visibility of Latinx artists in its exhibitions and programs; and the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY) presenting three special commissions of timebased work by Latinx, Caribbean, and Latin American visual artists.

Santa Fe’s Museum of Contemporary Native American Art (NM) will organize Exposure: Native Art and Political Ecology, which explores the responses of Indigenous artists to the impact of nuclear testing and uranium mining on Native peoples and the environment; and the Newark Museum of Art (NJ) will present the work of Saya Woolfalk who will draw on her own intersectional identity to examine and respond to different areas of the museum’s permanent collections.

Additionally, $142,000 will be awarded to three curatorial research fellows for projects investigating the impact of the Great Migration on contemporary art making; the divide between urban and rural community art practices in the Deep South; and the work and in

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