LATEST NEWS Ruth Foundation for the Arts launches $440 million philanthropic...

Ruth Foundation for the Arts launches $440 million philanthropic effort


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The Milwaukee-based Ruth Foundation of the Arts, established with a $440 million endowment from the late bathroom fixture heiress Ruth DeYoung Kohler II, has announced its presence with an initial $1.25 million in unrestricted grants to seventy- eight unsuspecting American non-profit arts organizations. The recipients, each receiving $10,000, $20,000 or $50,000, were chosen by a diverse panel of nearly fifty artists from across the country representing a variety of practices and career stages. Because the grants are by invitation only, many grantees were surprised to learn that they were receiving funds.

“I thought it wasn’t real at first,” said Lauren Walling, executive director of Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York. New York Times. “I was thinking, ‘Are they trying to get banking information from me? Is this a scam?’”

Kohler, a longtime advocate for self-taught artists, served as director of the John Michael Kohler Center for the Arts in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, for more than forty years, and was instrumental in carrying out the museum’s mission of uplifting the contemporary and self-taught artists who worked with humble materials, with a focus on those from Wisconsin. The letter of its foundation is similar, but national in scope and with a broad definition of what constitutes a work of an artistic or cultural nature.

“I am honored to carry on Ruth’s exceptional legacy in such an impactful way,” said Karen Patterson, executive director of the foundation. “She has shown us that a thriving arts community requires support for the entire ecosystem: from exhibition spaces, festivals, archives, arts environments, residencies, and school programs. We are truly a multidimensional field. We trust each other. And none of these things would be possible without artists.”

Patterson, a former director of exhibitions at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, and a senior curator at the Kohler Center, directs the foundation along with program director Kim Nguyen, who was previously curator and director of programs at the CCA Wattis Institute in St. Francisco. Among the group of artists responsible for selecting the recipients are Nikesha Breeze, Mel Chin, Gala Porras-Kim and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith. The foundation aims to award grants totaling between $17 million and $20 million annually, on par with funds provided by such an established philanthropic organization as the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. So far, there are few guidelines attached to the decision-making process, reflecting Kohler’s lifelong spirit. “Ruth was never prescriptive,” Patterson told the Times. “She used to say, ‘All art for all people.'”

Recipients, ranging from the established to the lesser-known, include Chicago’s Black Lunch Table, an oral history archival project; the First Peoples Fund, of Rapid City, South Dakota, which supports indigenous artists; Los Angeles-based Greetings from South-Central, a community center focused on the arts; and the Yaddo artists’ retreat, in Saratoga Springs, New York. A complete list is included below.

afro charities
Baltimore, MD

Art Collective Wings Of Water
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Alice Austen House Museum
Staten Island, New York

All my relationship arts
Minneapolis, MN

alternative roots
Atlanta Georgia

Amargosa Opera
Death Valley, CA

clothing store
Whitesburg, Kentucky

kind grandma
Ghent, New York

arts @ large
Milwaukee, WI

arts of life
Chicago, IL

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Baxter Street Camera Club
New York, NY

Bemi Contemporary Art Center
Omaha, NE

Benny Andrews Estate
Brooklyn, New York

Black Cube Nomad Museum
Denver, Colo.

black lunch table
Chicago, IL

BlackStar Projects
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Brooklyn Railroad
Brooklyn, New York

CAM Summer Scholarship
Memphis, TN

Contemporary Art Center
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Charlotte Street Foundation
Kansas City, MO

Children’s Museum of the Arts New York
New York, NY

Coleman Center for the Arts
York, Alabama

Contemporary Art Library
Los Angeles California

Cousins ​​Collective

creative growth
Oakland, Calif.

experimental sound studio
Chicago, IL

first light alaska
Anchorage, AK

first people background
Rapid City, South Dakota

Fuse Box Festival
austin, texas

greetings from south center
Los Angeles California

Griot Museum of Black History
Saint Louis, MO

Los Angeles California

Haystack Mountain Craft School
Deer Island, ME

Headlands Arts Center
Sausalito, CA

International Independent Curators
New York, NY

Institutes 193
Lexington, Kentucky

International Printing Center New York
New York, NY

Leap Arts in Education
San Francisco, CA

Archives and Leather Museum
Chicago, IL

lobster projects
Miami Florida

Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE)
Los Angeles California

Los Angeles Visual Arts (LAVA)
Los Angeles California

Gallery of packages
Raleigh, North Carolina

Saint Louis, MO

Materials for the Arts
Long Island City, New York

midway contemporary art
Minneapolis, MN

Milwaukee Film Festival
Milwaukee, WI

Jurassic Technology Museum
Los Angeles California

Garden Topiary Pearl Fryar
Bishopville, South Carolina

Penumbra Foundation
New York, NY

Popular Kitchen Collective
Oakland, Calif.

Pike School of Art
McComb, United States

Poeh Center and Museum
Pojoaque Pueblo, NM

Empty Space Project
Newark, NJ

Townhouses Project
Houston, TX

royal art forms
Hartford, CT

Real Time and Space
Oakland, Calif.

Rivers Institute
New Orleans, LA

Burnsville, North Carolina

Diaz Room
San Antonio, Texas

Seattle Asian American Film Festival
Seattle, WA

side street projects
Pasadena, Calif.

Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
Skowhegan, United States

blow melon
Brooklyn, New York

Art and architecture showcase
New York, NY

Puerto Rican Workshop
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tamir Rice Foundation
Cleveland, Ohio

the black school
New Orleans, LA

The Children’s Art Carnival
New York, NY

the clay studio
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Heidelberg Project
Detroit, MI

The laundry project
Brooklyn, New York

twelve doors
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Citizen Voices
Brooklyn, New York

white columns
New York, NY

Woman study workshop
Rosendale, New York

Saratoga Springs, New York


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