Foundations Commit $5 M. to Create 10 Latinx Art Curatorial Positions –

The Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Getty Foundation, and the Terra Foundation—four of the country’s leading philanthropic grant makers—have partnered together to create a new initiative called Advancing Latinx Art in Museums (ALAM), which is “part of a long overdue effort to support Latinx artists and to ignite a public conversation about the rightful place of Latinx art within American art,” according to a release.

In teaming up, the four foundations have pooled together $5 million, which will go toward giving 10 U.S. museums or art institutions grants of $500,000 each to formally create ten permanent early or mid-career curatorial positions with an expertise in Latinx art. Five of the mid-career positions represent promotions for curatorial staff already working at these institutions, while the five early career posts will be newly created.

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In a statement, Mellon Foundation president Elizabeth Alexander said, “The deep knowledge and understanding of Latinx art these ten curators hold comes from rigorous expertise and commitment to the creative expression of Latinx communities in the United States and Puerto Rico. Through ALAM we are proud to help expand opportunities for Latinx art curatorship across the country, and to do our part in upholding the centrality of this work in our museums and arts organizations.”

The recipients include El Museo del Barrio in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico in San Juan, the Newark Museum of Art in New Jersey, and the Vincent Price Art Museum in Monterey Park, California.

E. Carmen Ramos, the NGA’s chief curator who joined the institution in 2021 after over a decade at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where she was a driving force in adding Latinx art to the collection, said in a statement, “Institutional change can happen when we have experienced and knowledgeable voices at the table. We are eager to support the new curator as they join our team and help shape our work, all while affirming the importance of Latinx art and artists in the wider story of art and reinforcing our commitment to engage and serve Latinx audiences.”

This initiative represents the second phase of the Latinx Art Visibility Initiative, which the Mellon and Ford Foundations jointly launched in July 2021. For the first phrase of the program, the two foundations gave $5 million to create the Latinx Artist Fellowship, which over five years will dole out $50,000 unrestricted grants to 75 Latinx artists. With a focus on supporting Latinx artists at all stages in its careers, among the winners in the first two cohorts are Amalia Mesa-Bains, Las Nietas de Nonó, rafa esparza, Guadalupe Maravilla, Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, and Miguel Luciano.

The third phase of the Latinx Art Visibility Initiative is still being shaped but will focus on supporting academics who creating new scholarship around Latinx art and artists.

In a statement, Getty Foundation director Joan Weinstein said, “We need to invest more if we want Latinx art to be more broadly represented in our museums, with dedicated curators who can focus exclusively on building and stewarding these collections. ALAM is a decisive next step made possible through collaborative funding.”

The full list of 2022 Advancing Latinx Art Museums Recipients Institutions follows below.

516 ARTS, Albuquerque, NM

Arizona State University Art Museum in partnership with CALA Alliance, Tempe, AZ

Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin, TX

El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA

National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, IL

Newark Museum of Art, Newark, NJ

Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College, Los Angeles, CA

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