Mellon Foundation Funds $1.2 M. Diversity Initiative at Tang Teaching Museum

The Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College. COURTESY SKIDMORE COLLEGE

The Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College.


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has helped create a three-year, $1.2 million initiative at Skidmore College’s Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery in Saratoga Springs, New York, that will augment the museum’s exploration of identity and race, as well as create new research resources and boost public engagement. The foundation’s contribution to the grant amounts to $840,000, while the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation and Skidmore College have provided a total of $360,000 in matching funds.

In particular, the grant will enable original scholarship on works of art recently acquired by the museum by artists such as Nayland Blake, Willie Cole, Lorna Simpson, Kara Walker, and Carrie Mae Weems. Skidmore will be developing new courses that “cross disciplinary lines and use collection objects as the catalyst for conversations and innovative curricular development,” according to a press release. The museum will also be able to invite visiting artists and scholars to interact with faculty, staff, and students in the form of talks, workshops, performances, and exhibitions.

Additionally, the grant will allow for new initiatives, including a documentary and research project that will highlight more than 1,500 works in the museum’s collection. For this project, the Tang will be working with a diverse body of students from surrounding institutions of higher education, such as the members of the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium and nearby community colleges. The project will also result in the creation of a digital archive that will be free and accessible to all.

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