The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art in 2019 (via Flickr)

The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, a museum dedicated to collecting and preserving LGBTQIA+ artwork, was one of 36 Manhattan organizations that received major capital funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) today. The announcement accompanies news that the city will allocate $237 million in expense funding to DCLA (funds that support DCLA’s programmatic work, including grantmaking, and must be spent within the year) — the highest amount the agency has ever received for its expense budget.

The city will allocate $3.6 million to the Leslie-Lohman Museum, which is embarking on a transformative renovation and expansion project that will add a research library and a public archive to its existing location in Lower Manhattan.

“This support will grow Leslie-Lohman into a flexible, nimble art museum of the 21st century able to meet the multidisciplinary needs and creativity of contemporary artists and will allow the museum to thrive as an inclusive sanctuary for LGBTQIA+ art, artists, youth, allies and community,” the museum’s executive director, Alyssa Nitchun, said in a statement.

Leslie-Lohman Executive Director Alyssa Nitchun at a ceremony announcing the funding today (photo courtesy DCLA)

Leslie-Lohman had its start in 1969, when collectors and life partners Charles Leslie and Fritz Lohman established a gay art space in their loft at 131 Prince Street in SoHo. Much of their collection was built during the HIV/AIDS pandemic, salvaged from family members of artists who sought to hide and destroy art that explored gay themes due to persecution and shame. The Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation was formally instituted in 1987, and it received official accreditation as a museum in 2016.

Today, the Leslie-Lohman Museum holds an impressive collection of over 30,000 objects with over 300 years of queer art represented. The museum has a revolving exhibition of its permanent collection and is also currently hosting an exhibition of the work of Chilean-German transgender artist Lorenza Böttner. Leslie-Lohman’s upcoming renovation project follows on the heels of a half-year revamp that took place in 2017, which more than doubled its exhibition space. 

Some of the other groups that received capital funding from the DCLA this week include the Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance of New York, which received $11 million to construct a new 16,000-square-foot arts center in East Harlem; the New Museum, which is seeking to double its gallery space; and Carnegie Hall and the American Museum of Natural History, which will both be undergoing restorations of their facades. 

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Jasmine Liu

Jasmine Liu is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she studied anthropology and mathematics at Stanford University.