Tang Teaching Museum receives $1.5M grant from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund

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Tang Teaching Museum receives $1.5M grant from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund
The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery exterior. Photo: Tim Hursley.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY.- The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College has received a $1.5 million grant from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. The grant will build the Tang’s endowment and expand K-12 and community educational programming throughout the region and beyond.

Skidmore President Marc Conner announced the grant stating: “The mission of the Tang Teaching Museum embodies the liberal arts educational ideal, especially in its outreach to multiple communities and its educational thrust. This support from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund will substantially support and grow that mission. We could not be more grateful for this gift.”

The Tang’s educational program usually reaches more than 8,000 people of all ages each year through programs in the museum like the popular Family Saturdays, as well as workshops at schools, libraries, and community centers, especially in underserved urban, rural, and suburban areas across the region. These programs often feature interpretive exercises of artwork in exhibitions or from the Tang collection, and art-making projects. Since the pandemic, the program has moved online to offer a wealth of art-making activities. Museum educators also conduct teacher training for K-12 educators from around the region.

The grant will endow a key Tang position, which will now be called The Laurie M. Tisch Educator for K-12 and Community Programs. The grant will also fund programming to expand the Museum’s reach to new audiences, especially school students and adults in traditionally underserved areas.

“The support from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund is a testament to its commitment to both art and education, and a wonderful validation of the work we do with our many audiences,” said Ian Berry, the Museum’s Dayton Director. “This is such welcome news after being closed for months and as we plan for new ways to engage with our audiences. By endowing our Museum Educator position, the Illumination Fund ensures we will be able to deliver truly inspiring and transformative moments for our diverse communities.”

The grant will give the Museum greater agility in developing programs tailored to fit the needs of a diverse array of audiences—in the museum, in the community, and online—and strengthens the Tang’s ability to support existing relationships and to build new ones. For example, the pandemic has prompted the Education Team to develop the Museum’s first downloadable art-making projects, bringing a taste of the Tang experience into people’s homes across the region and beyond.

“We have been extremely impressed with the Tang Teaching Museum’s commitment to scholarship, inclusivity and transformation, and the enthusiasm it continues to generate in finding new ways of using art to enrich our understanding of the world,” said Laurie M. Tisch, President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. “We very much look forward to seeing how the Tang progresses to serve even more interested and very lucky audiences.”

The new grant marks the third major gift from the Illumination Fund to the Tang Teaching Museum. In 2015, the Fund launched a $1 million challenge grant that led to a $2 million endowment for the position of the Assistant Director for Engagement. In 2008, the Fund provided a $1.2 million gift as part of a matching challenge that enabled Skidmore faculty to expand the use of Museum resources in their coursework, and support programs with visiting artists and scholars from across the globe.

The Tang Teaching Museum was founded in 2000 and will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2020 with a series of exhibitions that includes Energy in All Directions, which combines collections from The Shaker Museum and the Tang in celebration of artist and gallerist Hudson (1950-2014), who founded and ran the gallery Feature Inc., and Never Done: 100 Years of Women in Politics and Beyond, an exploration of women and politics on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the 2020 election season. Details and programs will be announced in the coming months.

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