The Minneapolis Institute of Art has announced the launch of a multiyear initiative to create innovative public programs, special exhibitions, and a fellowship dedicated to Asian art.
Funded by a $6 million bequest from Alfred P. Gale, the Gale Asian Art Initiative at Mia aims to foster broader understanding and appreciation of Asian art and culture. To that end, each year for the foreseeable future, the museum will provide in-depth programming and events focused on a particular area of its collection Asian art, starting with the art of China. The museum claims to have one of the most comprehensive collections of Asian art in the country, due in part to the addition of twenty-four hundred objects donated from the collections of Billy and Libby Clark and Mary Griggs Burke.
New programming supported by the initiative will include a "family day" celebration of the Chinese New Year and a four-part series for adult learners focused on the highpoints of Chinese art. Other plans include public workshops dedicated to Japanese court painting and the Japanese tea ceremony. The museum also has invited the Propeller Group, an artist collective based in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, to curate an exhibition of Asian funerary objects from the permanent collection to be shown in conjunction with their video The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music, a visual and musical journey through the fantastical funeral traditions and rituals of what was South Vietnam. In addition, the museum will host three special events designed to heighten awareness of its Asian collections among local Asian communities and invite their involvement in future museum programs. The bequest includes funding for the appointment of a public practice fellow, who will work over three months to develop strategies for community outreach and f effective in-gallery teaching and interpretation.
"We are incredibly grateful to Alfred Gale and the Gale family for this significant investment in bringing Mia's Asian art collection to life in new ways," said museum director and president Kaywin Feldman. "By establishing the Gale Family Endowment at Mia, Mr. Gale recognized an important truth — that programming is key to maximizing the impact and excitement of permanent displays and exhibitions. This generosity will allow Mia to make centuries of Asian culture even more enticing for our visitors, including school children, interested adults, and seasoned connoisseurs, and continue to foster Mia’s position as one of the most important centers for the interpretation and study of Asian art."