April 24, 2018
Gardner Museum Granted $500K for Multi-Disciplinary Initiative

January 27, 2017 — The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston recently announced that it has received a three-year, $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a new multi-disciplinary initiative that re-imagines the museum’s historic spaces and collections in connection with the contemporary arts practice of living artists.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum said the grant will support new strategies to and engage audiences, including the creation of two new positions: a visiting curator for the performing arts position, inaugurated in January by musician, composer, and producer George Steel, and a dancer/choreographer-in-residence position.

“Winning this grant is a very important milestone in the museum’s history,” said Director Peggy Fogelman. “We see a bold and bright artistic future here in our historic galleries and contemporary spaces. Having this funding makes it all the more possible.”

The museum said the grant will help it achieve its goal to activate the historic spaces with new contemporary art works and performance pieces in an attempt to "create meaningful, relevant experiences in the arts of past and present."

“It’s a new and very exciting way of seeing the museum as an active, engaging, living art form,” Fogelman said.

As part of the museum’s commitment to its surrounding neighbors, Steel will work with the newly-created “Neighborhood Salon,” involving highly-skilled and dynamic arts leaders from Roxbury, Mission Hill, Fenway, and Greater Boston, on new multi-disciplinary programs. Additional project-based residency artists will also be commissioned for the next three years to produce new work.

Isabella Stewart Gardner, who founded the museum in 1903, died in 1924 and through her will created an endowment of $1 million, stipulating that the permanent collection not be significantly altered.

In 2012, the museum opened a new 70,000-square-foot building. At the time, the museum had about 200,000 visitors annually and projected that number to grow to 230,000. Last year, it welcomed a record-setting 256,000 visitors, and saw membership increase by more than 6,000 people.

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