At Large  April 8, 2020  Charlie Pogacar

Art World Offers Aid in Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic

Photo by Lydia Koh on Unsplash

The Getty Museum

On Thursday, April 2, the J. Paul Getty Trust announced it will be earmarking $10 million for artist relief funds. The donation came just days after Art Newspaper published an op-ed imploring James Cuno, president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, to take action.

The $10 million will be dispersed in the form of grants ranging from $25,000 to $250,000, and the trust says it is working with the California Community Federation to distribute the money to smaller art institutions in the Los Angeles area. 

The donation was just one of a string of timely philanthropic announcements as the art world struggles to find its feet during the unprecedented pandemic. Also on Thursday, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation committed $5 million to artists and organizations across three years. Some $1.25 million of the total donation will immediately go to artists and institutions in the New York area, while the rest will be doled out over the three-year span. 


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The contributions come on the heels of a collective outcry from the art community, the majority of which is ill-equipped to survive what is expected to be a loss of $100 million in total revenue as the COVID-19 crisis shuttered museums and exhibits across the world. 

“None of us could ever have imagined the far-reaching medical and financial disaster that has engulfed us as a result of this pandemic,” says Clifford Ross, chairman of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation. “The art world must galvanize to support both its artists and those that work every day at its museums and cultural institutions.”

A third notable donation was made by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which is committing $1.6 million in grants to organizations in 16 U.S. cities. The foundation lists the recipients of the 16 respective $100,000 grants in an announcement on its website

“The Warhol Foundation is committed to working at both the national and regional level to provide support for artists at this critical moment,” Joel Wachs, president of the Warhol Foundation, said in a statement. “With the help of our Regional Re-granting network, we are able to directly address the emergency-related needs of artists in cities where the level of on-the-ground, self-organized artistic activity is highest.”

flickr/Alison Day

The Brooklyn Museum

Other museums are chipping in during the crisis with supplies rather than donations. The Brooklyn Museum, Christie’s, and the Frick Collection were among the many institutions recognized for donating protective gear to healthcare workers. The museums keep masks and gloves on-hand to protect employees during installations and conservation but elected to donate the supplies to those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis. The donations trickled in after a statement was released by the US Conference of Mayors declaring that 90 percent of cities did not have enough supplies for emergency aid workers.

About the Author

Charlie Pogacar

Charlie Pogacar is the Custom Content Associate Editor at Journalistic, Inc. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Abby, and boxer pup, Frankie.

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