Mellon Foundation launches COVID-19 relief fund for museums

Mellon Foundation launches COVID-19 relief fund for museums

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has announced the launch of an emergency grant program in support of art museums impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With the goal of supporting cultural anchor institutions, many of which face the possibility of permanent closure as a result of the pandemic, the Art Museum Futures Fund will award grants ranging from $600,000 to $5.5 million to help stabilize museums as they prepare to re-open. To that end, the fund has awarded a first round of grants totaling $24 million to a dozen midsize museums across the United States.

Museum receiving a grant in this round include the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco), the Brooklyn Museum (New York City), El Museo del Barrio (New York City), the Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston), the McNay Art Museum (San Antonio), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), the Nevada Museum of Art (Reno), the Oakland Museum of California (Oakland), Pérez Art Museum Miami (Miami), the Philbrook Museum of Art (Tulsa), the Queens Museum (New York City), and the Studio Museum in Harlem (New York City). 

As part of a follow-up round of grantmaking this fall, the fund will award grants totaling up to $3 million in support of small art museums, which in many cases have limited access to capital to pay for expenses associated with COVID-19, resiliency planning, and/or critical staff and infrastructure. 

"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," said Mellon Foundation president Elizabeth Alexander. "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. Mellon's Art Museum Futures Fund is vital to ensuring our country's artistic and cultural landscape remains prolific after the pandemic passes."