As the impacts of the coronavirus crisis continues to roil the art world, more and more grant-giving organizations have announced efforts to provide relief to those affected, from small arts organization to artists. Now, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation said it will commit $5 million in relief across three initiatives to be supported over the next three years.
As part of the program, the foundation will immediately award $1.25 million in funds. The Foundation for Contemporary Arts will get $500,000 for its FCA COVID-19 Relief Fund aimed at supporting artists who have lost income over canceled exhibitions and programs. The forthcoming Artist Relief Fund, to provide general relief to artists, will also receive $500,000. And $250,000 will go to 15 New York–based nonprofit arts organizations that work with living artists to support operating costs while they are closed. The consortium of 15 organizations includes Artists Space, Creative Time, the Drawing Center, Eyebeam, the Kitchen, the Laundromat Project, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Performance Space New York, Printed Matter, Recess, Socrates Sculpture Park, Sculpture Center, the Storefront for Art & Architecture, the Swiss Institute, and White Columns.
“None of us could ever have imagined the far-reaching medical and financial disaster that has engulfed us as a result of this pandemic,” Frankenthaler Foundation board chair Clifford Ross said in a statement. “Helen would have given full-throated support to the board of her foundation making a major effort to aid the creative community. The art world must galvanize to support both its artists and those that work every day at its museums and cultural institutions. We believe this is the moment to step up.”
Plans for the remaining $3.75 million will be conceived with time to assess where it is most-needed during what is predicted to be a long period of recovery.
The foundation, established by the late Abstract Expressionist painter who died in 2011, has been active as a grant-giving organization since 2013. Over the years it has awarded money to various universities, including Harvard, Columbia, New York University, and Yale, to support graduate students enrolled in painting and art history programs. In 2019, it endowed the Helen Frankenthaler Award for Painting for the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, which comes with $40,000.