Judd Foundation and MASS MoCA among grantees of $3 million in new funding from the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative


Judd Foundation and MASS MoCA among grantees of $3 million in new funding from the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative

The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh is one of 49 grantees to receive support this year from the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative. (bikesharedude/Flickr/Public Domain)

The New York–based philanthropic arts organization established by celebrated American abstract expressionist painter Helen Frankenthaler announced today that it has awarded $3 million in grant funding to 49 visual arts institutions, including both museums and schools, for clean energy schemes, carbon footprint-minimizing building upgrades, climate resiliency projects, and related undertakings.

The grant funding comes as part of the second phase of the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative (FCI), the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation’s multiyear, multimillion dollar grant-making program “dedicated to advancing sustainability and reducing climate impact in the cultural arena.” The program was developed by the foundation in partnership with Colorado-headquartered nonprofit RMI and Environment & Culture Partners.

Established last year, the FCI is the largest program of its kind and has conferred just north of $8 million to date. The pool for potential grantees was expanded this year to include non-collecting visual arts organizations and art schools. The 79 grantees awarded during the inaugural round of support in 2021 included the Barnes Foundation, Dia Art Foundation, Denver Art Museum, and ICA Miami.

“The first round of FCI’s funding helped museums actualize climate neutrality commitments, prepare for and respond to climate-driven disasters, and create avenues to achieve long-term operational sustainability, among other key goals. This second phase expands our reach and impact by advancing current projects in development and providing a new roster of visual art institutions with the support needed to meet their climate goals,” said Lise Motherwell, chair of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, in a statement.

This round of awarded projects included both scoping and technical assistance grants, which, as the foundation points out, “help institutions assess opportunities to reduce the carbon footprint and energy costs of their facilities and support the specification and budgeting for procurement and financing.” A majority of the recipients were awarded with implementation grants, which support fully specified projects through partial and seed funding. Recipient institutions must track and report their respective energy and greenhouse gas reductions to “measure project outcomes over time” explained the foundation, which will also work with all grantees moving forward so that they can share best practices and insights from their sustainability efforts.

The 49 visual arts institutions awarded during this second round of grant funding spans 19 states from Ohio (Cleveland Museum of Art) to Washington (Tacoma Art Museum) to Delaware (Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library) to Kentucky (Speed Art Museum) and beyond.

Cultural heavyweights like the Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Art Museum, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. are all listed as recipients. They join a host of smaller, specialized institutions including the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, Indianapolis’s Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Awarded schools and university museums include the Center for Curatorial Studies and Art in Contemporary Culture at Bard College, Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington, the Visual and Performing Arts Center at Bennington College, and the Kentucky Museum at West Kentucky University.

As detailed in a press release, the awarded grant funding will be used by its recipients in a variety of ways. At Storm King Art Center in New York’s Hudson Valley, the funding will be to help implement a range of sustainability measures, including the installation of photovoltaic panels; in Marfa, Texas, Judd Foundation will receive a helping hand in reaching its net-zero facility goals; and Philadelphia Contemporary will use its share toward the realization of a sustainable, floating gallery-barge on the Delaware River waterfront.

Additional 2022 grantees include the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; MASS MoCA, Pittsburgh Glass Center, San Diego Museum of Art, and the Wing Luke Foundation in Seattle.

The full list of 2022 FCI grantees can be viewed here. The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation is also hosting a Climate Week NYC–aligned discussion, Catalyzing Climate Action at Visual Arts Organizations, at the Morgan Library & Museum in Manhattan on September 19. Select New York City–based 2022 FCI grantees will be participating.

The application process for the next grant-making cycle is slated to open in February of next year.