The Rockefeller Brothers Fund recently announced $1.5 million in grants available to New York City museums to fund exhibits and projects that focus on underrepresented artists.
The first round of grants went to eight museums throughout the city: the Africa Center, the Bronx Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, MoMA PS1, El Museo del Barrio, the Museum of the City of New York, the Queens Museum, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Each institution received a grant of at least $100,000 to develop or expand projects on underrepresented New York artists.
Among the projects funded by the Rockefeller grant is the Bronx Museum’s exhibit “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch.” This exhibit is the first survey of Biggers’ quilt-based works, which reference the double meaning quilts held as signposts along the Underground Railroad. The Bronx Museum will use the funding to produce three other solo exhibitions as well.
In a statement, Ben Rodriguez-Cubeñas, a program director for Arts & Culture at the RBF, described how the Fund selected the museums to receive funding. “Established museums offer access to the networks, relationships, public audiences, and long-term resources needed to sustain a creative career, but their traditional structures often exclude BIPOC, LGBTQ, and women artists from those opportunities. The arts and cultural organizations of New York, a global creative capital and one of the most diverse cities on earth, have a special responsibility to their home city and to the global arts community to deconstruct those hurdles and set a model for the sector to transform its approaches to diversity and representation.”