The New Orleans African American Museum (via Wikimedia Commons)

With mounting losses caused by ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and recurring lockdowns, many art museums worldwide are facing crisis. Recent studies by UNESCO and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) found that 13% of museums worldwide may not survive the impact of the pandemic. Here in the US, nearly one-third of all museums are at risk of closing, according to an October survey by the Alliance of American Museums. At this critical moment, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is distributing additional emergency COVID-19 grants totaling $3 million to struggling small arts and cultural institutions across the US.

In a statement today, December 16, the foundation announced that a second round of grants from its Art Museum Futures Fund will aid 14 small-sized arts museums “with strong and long-standing commitments to the local community and social justice.”

In its first round of grants in September, the Art Museum Futures Fund distributed nearly $24 million to 12 mid-sized American institutions, including the Brooklyn Museum, El Museo del Barrio, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Pérez Art Museum, and others.

This time, the grants will support organizations like the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art in New York; the El Paso Museum of Art in Austin, Texas; the California African American Museum in Los Angeles; and the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, among others. The grants will be used to support general operations in these institutions, which are struggling to pay their bills. 

“America’s small-sized arts and culture institutions sustain their communities by providing access to transformative and wide-ranging artistic contributions while also preserving many different histories and cultural legacies,” said Elizabeth Alexander, President of the Mellon Foundation, in a statement. “As the pandemic continues to threaten the future viability of museums that have long been underresourced, we must do our part to strengthen support for these organizations and the trenchant work they tirelessly undertake to enrich and expand our American story.”

See the full list of supported organizations below:

  • Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor, Maine
  • Art Museum and Visual Arts Program at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • California African American Museum, Los Angeles, California
  • El Paso Museum of Art, Texas
  • Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York 
  • Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Michigan
  • Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, New York
  • Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin, Texas  
  • New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut
  • New Orleans African American Museum, Louisiana 
  • Riverside Art Museum, California
  • San José Museum of Art, California
  • Tucson Museum of Art, Arizona

Hakim Bishara

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...