NOMA Receives 2 Grants Totaling $550K

NEW ORLEANS – The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a $400,000 grant to the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), 1 Collins Diboll Cir., to support two curatorial fellowships in the fields of photography and modern and contemporary art, and the museum also received a $150,000 grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support a two-year project to digitize the museum’s collection of African art. NOMA’s collection from sub-Saharan tribal peoples is considered one of the most outstanding collections in the United States.

         “As we continue to open up NOMA's collections to all communities, these fellowships reflect new methods and means of curatorial practice—advancing art history and scholarship while re-thinking the boundaries of museums and their audience,” Susan M. Taylor, The Montine McDaniel Freeman Director, said. “With this generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, NOMA can help support and inspire the next generation of curators whose understanding of issues of inclusion will further underscore their contribution to their fields as well as their commitment to community. New Orleans is the ideal city to advance the goals of engagement and excellence in curatorial practice. We are grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support.”

         The Mellon Curatorial Fellows will also work with NOMA education staff to create public programs and interpretive experiences that help connect audiences to scholarly material through genuine encounters with art, artists, and ideas.

         “This meaningful award [from the IMLS] will help NOMA position for the future and our next 100 years,” Taylor said. “As museums across the country strive to engage next-generation audiences, this project will help NOMA remain competitive and relevant. It follows previous support from IMLS that has allowed us to engage with visitors near and far, allowing them to explore our extraordinary collection of African art. This access is crucial for all audiences – students, scholars and the general public.”

         IMLS grants are highly competitive. NOMA's digitization project was one of 206 projects selected from a field of 548 applications. NOMA has already successfully digitized 10,000 two-dimensional objects from the museum’s permanent collection. A majority of these works were from NOMA’s collection of photography, prints and drawings, which can be shown only periodically due to light sensitivity. The project is a continuation of NOMA’s efforts to make the museum’s over 40,000-object permanent collection a vital resource for audiences in New Orleans and around the world.

         NOMA's digitization efforts have so far had a transformative effect on the way it interacts with the public, turning the museum’s galleries into interactive learning environments, allowing website access to a substantial amount of NOMA’s collection, and developing digital and physical educational tools for visitors and educators, museum reps said.

         NOMA's extensive permanent collection includes over 12,000 photographs, and is widely regarded as one of the most significant collections of this material in the country. The museum’s collection of 20th-century European and American painting and sculpture is equally comprehensive and covers virtually all the major art movements on both continents.

         The New Orleans Museum of Art, founded in 1910 by Isaac Delgado, houses over 40,000 art objects encompassing 5,000 years of world art. Works from the permanent collection, along with continuously changing special exhibitions, are on view in the museum's 46 galleries Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The adjoining Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden features work by over 60 artists, including several of the 20th century's master sculptors. The Sculpture Garden is open seven days a week: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The New Orleans Museum of Art and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden are fully accessible to handicapped visitors and wheelchairs are available from the front desk.

         Wednesdays are free admission days for Louisiana residents, courtesy of The Helis Foundation. (May not include special exhibitions.) Teenagers (ages 13-19) receive free admission every day through the end of the year, courtesy of The Helis Foundation.

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