Andy Warhol Foundation is Embracing Social Engagement

Friday, July 27, 2018

Andy Warhol Foundation is Embracing Social Engagement

A recurring theme across Inside Philanthropy's arts verticals is the increasingly important role of institutional funders in supporting small arts organizations. The challenges facing these organizations are numerous and well-documented: cuts to public funding; the threat of displacement thanks to rampant gentrification; the distracting demands of incessant fundraising; endless entertainment options vying for audiences' limited free time.

None of this is news to the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Established in 1987, the foundation funds exhibitions, publications and visual arts programming for contemporary art that is experimental and often unrecognized.

The foundation recently announced the 42 recipients of its spring 2018 grants, totaling $3.6 million. The selected organizations, which were chosen from a pool of 224 nonprofits, will receive grants ranging from $35,000 to $120,000. The funding comes six months after the foundation announced its Fall 2017 grant recipients, in which 48 organizations received over $4 million in support.

The big takeaway from this most recent round? According to ArtNews, "many of this year’s recipients have focused on artistic engagement with political and social issues."

"Many of these organizations are small, with budgets well under $1 million, yet they are providing vital professional support to a diverse set of artists while remaining socially engaged in their communities. This work is inspiring at a time when many groups in this country feel threatened—women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, to name a few," said Joel Wachs, the Warhol Foundation’s president.

By linking the arts with pressing social issues, Wachs' sentiments echo a line of thinking increasingly espoused by many funders across the past few years—and especially since the 2016 election. Here are just a few examples...

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