21 grants totaling $2.8 million have been awarded to museums and arts organizations of all sizes, aiding in the recovery of New Orleans arts organizations
August 13, 2008
LOS ANGELES— In the three years since Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans landscape has changed. Grass and trees have again begun to bloom, and so have the crescent city’s visual arts organizations, thanks in part to a series of grants given by the Getty Foundation.
Marking the upcoming anniversary of the storm, the Getty Foundation, one of the country’s largest philanthropic supporters of the visual arts, today announced a third and final round of grants to support the ongoing recovery of New Orleans’ visual arts organizations. To date, 21 grants totaling $2.8 million have been awarded to museums and arts organizations of all sizes, from the city’s landmark museums in the French Quarter to historic house museums and community arts organizations.
The new round of grants, totaling more than $1 million, have been awarded to the Cathedral of St. Louis, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, the Prospect.1 U.S. Biennial, and following the successful completion of earlier Getty-funded projects, to the Contemporary Arts Center, Longue Vue House and Garden, the Louisiana State Museums, and the New Orleans Cultural Coalition. An additional grant also has been given to a consortium of eight institutions to continue surveying the city’s arts audiences.
Led by the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) and its executive director Jay Weigel, the group is exploring how major demographic shifts in the city are impacting the role of the arts in the community. They also are exploring strategies for collaboration, from jointly promoting the arts to sharing resources. The CAC also received its own transition planning grant, which has enabled Wiegel and his staff to find creative ways to respond to the many changes in their audiences and funding sources since Katrina.
“The Getty Foundation grant has helped us survive, strategize about the future, and set a solid course of action,” says Weigel. “With Getty support, we have been able to design a new strategic plan, create new sources of earned revenue, cultivate new collaborations, and continue our artistic programs, while helping to rebuild our city.”
The most current example of the city’s ongoing arts recovery will be the upcoming Prospect.1 New Orleans opening in November, the largest international art biennial ever organized in the United States, which will feature the work of 81 local, national, and international artists in over 100,000 square feet of exhibition space throughout the city. Prospect 1 received a $150,000 grant from the Getty Foundation Fund for New Orleans to help leverage the potential of Prospect.1 to contribute to strengthening the cultural sector in New Orleans. Among the things that the grant will help make possible are a shuttle bus that will transport visitors between sites and a unique map that will highlight the various arts organizations participating in biennial exhibitions and programming.
“It’s gratifying to see how much the arts organizations in the city have come together over the past three years,” said Joan Weinstein, associate director of the Getty Foundation. “They are an important part of a new optimism and forward momentum taking hold in New Orleans, and key to its continued revival.”
Recent grant related successes also include the newly completed archeological dig at the Cathedral’s St. Anthony’s Garden, the first such investigation at the city’s most prominent historic landmark. Project archaeologists uncovered key artifacts and traces of previously unknown buildings dating back to the city's founding in 1718. A Getty grant of $130,000 is supporting both the archaeological work and the extensive archival research that will inform a new conservation and restoration plan for the garden, which was devastated during the hurricane.
Longue Vue House and Garden, which received an earlier Getty Foundation grant of $200,000, recently completed a Historic Structures Report outlining priorities for the preservation and use of the structure and grounds. With a new, second Getty grant of $175,000, officials at Longue Vue are now pursuing strategies to preserve their important historic structures while improving the visitor experience. Among other initiatives, they are developing a new “curatorial zone” in the Main House that will provide much needed additional space for collections management, research, and storage.
Launched in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, the Getty Fund for New Orleans was established to assist visual arts organizations in New Orleans to recover from the impact of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding.
The Getty Foundation’s Fund for New Orleans has awarded support in two categories: transition planning grants, which help strengthen cultural organizations as they respond to the changed environment for the arts in New Orleans, and conservation survey grants, which provide funding to assess the condition of damaged buildings and vulnerable collections, and develop prioritized plans for their preservation.
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