For Collection-Sharing Initiative, Terra Foundation and Art Bridges Tap Detroit Institute of Arts, MFA Boston

Inside the MFA Boston.


The Terra Foundation for American Art and Art Bridges are giving some $2.4 million to the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston so that they can develop traveling exhibitions and other programming with regional partners.

The grants are part of a six-year program being pursued by Terra and Art Bridges (an organization started by billionaire collector Alice Walton) that aims to create an art-sharing network of 80 museums.

“[I]nviting new voices into the conversation greatly enriches the dialogue about American art,” Elizabeth Glassman, the president and CEO of the Terra Foundation, said in a release. “We are immensely proud to join with Art Bridges on this initiative, and to foster research and experimentation that will bring new perspectives to our understanding of American art, and new visitors to museums across the country.”

The MFA, for instance, will partner with the Fenimore Art Museum (in Cooperstown, New York), the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts (Springfield, Massachusetts), the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute (Utica, New York), and the Mattatuck Museum (Waterbury, Connecticut), drawing on the strengths of their collections.

The Terra-Art Bridges initiative comes as some art museums have begun exploring ways to collaborate in making acquisitions and sharing their collections, in response to the prohibitive cost of art, limited budgets, and a desire to ensure that work is seen, rather than tucked away in storage. In 2010, for instance, the Yale University Art Gallery began a collection-sharing program with six partner institutions.

Terra and Art Bridges said that they have also given a research-and-development grant to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and that they are in discussions with the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art about joining the program.

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