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Philadelphia Museum of Art receives major grant from Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation for American Art to launch collection-sharing partnership across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative brings together nine Pennsylvania museums to expand access to American art

Harrisburg, PA (April 29, 2019) – A transformational new initiative of Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation for American Art has awarded more than $700,000 to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The funding supports a program of sharing treasures from the Museum’s renowned collections with communities across Pennsylvania. An official from the Terra Foundation for American Art, along with directors from nine museums, joined legislators and arts supporters in the Rotunda of the Pennsylvania State Capitol today to announce the program.

The Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative supports multi-year, multi-institutional exhibition partnerships that engage local communities with outstanding works of American art. Sharing collections and resources, these collaborative partners create a series of exhibitions that are content rich, include in-depth educational and interpretive materials, and are designed to expand audiences through innovative programming. Initiative grants also foster professional development exchanges between partners and across groups. Formed by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania cohort of partners is ambitious in scale, comprising nine museums from across the commonwealth. The partner museums have already selected loans from the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of the first phase of the project.

“Art Bridges is proud to support this groundbreaking new program,” said Margi Conrads, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Strategic Art Initiatives at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and curatorial consultant to Art Bridges. Created by collector and philanthropist Alice Walton in 2017, Art Bridges is dedicated to dramatically expanding access to American art across the country. “The sharing of American artworks has already brought

together these outstanding organizations in an unprecedented new partnership model, unlike any we’ve seen in the museum field to date. As the initiative continues, we look forward to supporting the innovative work that these organizations will do to engage their communities through these powerful works of American art."

Elizabeth Glassman, President and CEO of the Terra Foundation for American Art, said: “We are pleased to be working with the Philadelphia Museum of Art to launch the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative in Pennsylvania as part of our nationwide program to engage local communities with outstanding works of American art in meaningful ways. Already this Pennsylvania cohort has yielded profound conversations and fresh ideas on how to achieve this. Created with local communities in mind, their collaborative exhibitions and programs will present American art in innovative ways, inviting audiences to be part of an always-evolving dialogue around it.”

Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, identified the following museums as partners through a careful process of research and evaluation over the last two years:

  • Allentown Art Museum
  • Demuth Foundation (Lancaster Museum of Art and Demuth Museum, Lancaster)
  • Erie Art Museum
  • James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown
  • Palmer Museum of Art, Penn State University, University Park
  • Reading Public Museum
  • The Trout Gallery, Dickinson College, Carlisle
  • The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg

Their initial loan requests are broad-ranging and include works created by some of Pennsylvania’s most acclaimed artists, including Charles Demuth, Edward Hicks, and Charles Sheeler.

State Senator Patrick Browne (16th District, Lehigh Valley) serves as co-chair of the Pennsylvania Arts and Culture Caucus. He stated, “The unique initiative announced today is transformational in the way it will expend the access to renowned collections of art to diverse audiences and communities across Pennsylvania. I applaud Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation for American Art for their financial commitment to this great opportunity and the Philadelphia Museum of Art for its leadership and interest in sharing its wonderful collection of art and history with other museums, including the Allentown Art Museum in my hometown. This program, as it nurtures cultural activity in our cities and towns, will also provide benefits to local economies through increased public engagement and tourism and will encourage more young people to draw inspiration from creativity.”

The Allentown Art Museum has chosen Marsden Hartley’s Blessing the Melon (The Indians Bring the Harvest to Christian Mary), of about 1918, and two eighteenth-century Peruvian paintings, The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, with Saints Francis of Assisi and Anthony of Padua along with The Annunciation, for the exhibition Evolution of the Spiritual: Europe to America. On view from November 24, 2019 through May 24, 2020, the installation aims to expand the idea of what comprises American art and to reach diverse audiences whose history and traditions may not have been included in traditional narratives about the history of American art.

The Demuth Foundation plans to borrow Tulips, 1917, an important work on paper by the modernist Charles Demuth, along with an additional Demuth flower subject from another partner, the Reading Public Museum. These exceptional works by the Lancaster native—one of the most outstanding American watercolorists of the twentieth century—will complement the exhibition Focus on Flora: Charles Demuth’s Florals, on view in Lancaster from May 4 through June 30.

The Erie Art Museum has requested the loan of Paul, 1994, a painting by Chuck Close, to be paired with a self-portrait in a jacquard-woven textile done in the previous year by this celebrated and controversial contemporary artist. These works will be installed near the museum’s main entrance, where they will greet visitors beginning in the fall of this year.

The Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State has selected Homage to the Square (It Seems), 1963, a painting by the influential artist and educator, Josef Albers. It will be on view from September 3 through December 15 in an exhibition commemorating the legacy of the Bauhaus in art, design, and architecture. The presentation of the Albers will be closely linked to a major, international symposium “Bauhaus Transfers” sponsored by the Stuckeman School of Architecture at Penn State.

For its exhibition Picturing Pennsylvania Barns, on view from September 15, 2019, through January 5, 2020, the Reading Public Museum will create a focused installation in which its painting Hill Road, 1920, by George Sotter is displayed side-by-side with two works by the modernist Charles Sheeler, lent by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Sheeler’s Bucks County Barn, 1918, a gelatin silver print, captures the same barn that appears in Sotter’s work and from very nearly the same angle. Sheeler’s luminous Pennsylvania Landscape, created seven years later, rounds out the grouping.

In Carlisle, at Dickinson College, The Trout Gallery plans to borrow five delicate silhouettes by Moses Williams, the early nineteenth-century cut-paper artist who grew up enslaved in the home of the Philadelphia painter Charles Willson Peale. Freed in 1804, Williams continued to work for the Peale family museum, cutting silhouettes; the group to be lent to The Trout Gallery includes portraits of members of the Peale family. The college, located near the Mason-Dixon line and not far from the northernmost point of the Confederate advance during the Civil War, was founded by Dr. Benjamin Rush, whom Williams may have known in Philadelphia through his friendship with Charles Willson Peale.

The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg is borrowing Penn’s Treaty with the Indians, about 1830-35, and Ralph Blakelock’s Indian Encampment, about 1890. These paintings are presented in the exhibition The Outsider’s Gaze, which looks at images of Native Americans from the perspective of European-American artists working in the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It will serve as a companion exhibition to Mingled Visions: The Photographs of Edward S. Curtis and Will Wilson, on view through June 30, 2019.

The James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown borrowed a work by the acclaimed Bucks County Impressionist Daniel Garber. A commanding yet tender portrait of the artist’s young daughter, Tanis is distinguished especially by its striking use of backlighting. It was painted in 1915 at Garber’s home in the Cuttalossa Glen, near New Hope, not far from the museum. The painting was presented in context with a large-scale mural by Garber and an installation of similarly-scaled murals by Edward Steichen.

Timothy Rub, the Philadelphia Museum of Art director, noted that he was drawn to the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative because of the opportunity it offered to address an objective of the museum’s Strategic Plan. “While the Philadelphia Museum of Art lends its collection to museums around the world, we are also committed to working more collaboratively with sister institutions closer to home,” Rub said. “I am delighted that we are playing a leadership role in this promising initiative, knowing that it will build sustainable relationships and broaden the reach of our public service across the state.“

Future phases of the project will culminate in the development of additional exhibitions, encompassing up to 25 works each, that will be drawn both from the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the partner institutions.

About Art Bridges

Art Bridges is a pioneering new foundation dedicated to dramatically expanding access to American art across the country. Created by collector and philanthropist Alice Walton in 2017, Art Bridges strives to bring great works of American art out of storage and into communities across America. Through financial and planning support, Art Bridges helps organizations of all sizes build exhibitions and programs that deeply engage audiences.

About the Terra Foundation for American Art

Since it was established in 1978, the Terra Foundation for American Art has been one of the leading foundations focused on the historical art of the United States. Headquartered in Chicago, it is committed to fostering exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of American art among national and international audiences. To further cross-cultural dialogue on American art, the foundation supports and collaborates on innovative exhibitions, research, and educational programs. Implicit in such activities is the belief that art has the potential both to distinguish cultures and to unite them. Recognizing the importance of experiencing original works of art, the foundation also provides opportunities for interaction and study through the presentation and ongoing development of its own art collection in Chicago.

About the Philadelphia Museum of Art

We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A world-renowned collection. A landmark building. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

Allentown Art Museum
Allentown, PA

“The Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art has encouraged our exploration of the meaning of American art and how it can speak to diverse experiences and identities. The loans featured in Evolution of the Spiritual: Europe to America will allow us to experiment with ways to create connections between our collections and our communities, ahead of our planned permanent collection reinstallation considering American art in a global context.”

David Mickenberg
Priscilla Payne Hurd President and CEO

About the Allentown Art Museum

The mission of the Allentown Art Museum is to enrich the lives of the widest possible audience of visitors by engaging, informing, and inspiring them through the activities of collecting, preserving, studying, exhibiting, and interpreting important works of visual art. The Museum, founded in 1934, houses more than 19,000 works including paintings, sculpture, textiles, works on paper, and decorative arts, including an important Samuel H. Kress collection of Renaissance and Baroque art, a significant textile collection, more than 1,500 photographs, and 5,400 prints dating from the 15th century to the present. Serving more than 60,000 visitors annually, the Museum’s collection is a unique resource within Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley as no other institution in this region offers such depth or international representation.

Demuth Foundation and Museums
Lancaster, PA
demuth.org, lmapa.org

“Our Foundation and Museums are delighted to be included in this innovative collaboration with other outstanding Pennsylvania institutions. Working with curators and staff at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, we have been able to generate new exhibition ideas and work to bring Charles Demuth's art back to his Lancaster home and studio, where he created most of his work. Our staff have benefited from professional development opportunities created through this partnership and gained valuable insight from the Philadelphia Museum of Art's expert staff. I have enjoyed the network of peers forming within our consortium and am grateful for the leadership of Art Bridges, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art in organizing our efforts.”

Abigail Baer
Executive Director

About the Demuth Foundation

The Demuth Foundation operates two art museums in downtown Lancaster—the Demuth Museum and the Lancaster Museum of Art—and works to promote the appreciation and awareness of the visual arts in Lancaster. The Foundation preserves the legacy of modernist painter Charles Demuth and his groundbreaking art, supports local and regional artists, and inspires a new generation of creatives. This is accomplished through unique exhibitions and engaging educational programs to serve a diverse community. Our Foundation’s vision is an inspired community where all recognize their inherent creativity and the arts foster a dialogue to enhance the quality of life in Lancaster. While the historic home and art of Lancaster native Charles Demuth are central to the focus of our programs, the work of other exemplary artists of local, regional, national, and international reputation is also explored. Combined, these two sites reach 20,000 visitors annually.

Erie Art Museum
Erie, PAerieartmuseum.org

“For us, the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative is an incredibly exciting collaboration. Being a smaller regional art museum located in the Rust Belt, the majority of our public rarely has access to the types of objects being made available to us through the program. More importantly, a project like this is clearly looking to and thinking about the future of American museums. The connections being formed and the impetus to leverage one another’s assets, whether it be collections, professional knowledge, etc., has the potential to deeply impact and strengthen the partnering cultural organizations. We’re honored to be a part of it.”

Joshua Helmer
Executive Director

About the Erie Art Museum

The mission of the Erie Art Museum is to promote and advance the visual arts by developing and maintaining a quality art collection, encouraging art in all its forms, fostering lifelong engagement with the arts, and building community among artists, art students, and the public. The Museum houses nearly 9,000 objects ranging across media, cultures, and eras. As the sole art museum in northwestern Pennsylvania, its collections provide the only opportunity for many residents to experience quality works of art. The collection includes American and European paintings, drawings, and sculpture, with particular strength in American works from the 20th century, Japanese and European prints, South Asian art, East African textiles, and American photography and ceramics, as well as work by local and regional artists.

James A. Michener Art Museum
Doylestown, PA

“We are so grateful for the generosity of Art Bridges, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art in initiating this dynamic vision. Supporting high-caliber loans and collection sharing enables collaborative exhibition development and creates dynamic scholarship, allowing for exciting new visitor experiences. The Michener is delighted to partake in this proactive, multidisciplinary approach, energizing the way American art is shared and viewed. The magnitude of this creative partnership propels the value of exhibitions being presented to the Michener community to an entirely new level.”

Kathleen V. Jameson
Executive Director

About the James A. Michener Art Museum

The James A. Michener Art Museum collects, preserves, interprets, and exhibits American art, and promotes the work of nationally and internationally known artists from Pennsylvania’s Delaware Valley from all eras and creative disciplines. The Museum presents changing exhibitions that explore a variety of artistic expressions and offers diverse educational programs that develop lifelong involvement in the arts. Opened to the public in 1988, the Michener has built a reputation as a study center for the artistic tradition of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with a renowned permanent collection that is widely recognized as one of the finest assemblages of Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings in public hands. The Michener attracts over 135,000 visitors annually, largely serving Bucks County residents and visitors. Bucks County is a regional tourist destination, attracting visitors from the New York City, New Jersey, and Philadelphia areas. One-third of the Michener’s visitors are tourists from outside the region.

Palmer Museum of Art
Penn State University, University Park, PA

“As a museum with a longstanding commitment to American art, we are delighted to partner with the Philadelphia Museum of Art on this state-wide initiative funded by Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation for American Art. This innovative program will allow us to have access to works of art from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s diverse and extensive collection that will add depth and dimension to our mission to teach and serve through our exhibitions and educational programming. Moreover, as an academic art museum embedded in a tier-one research university, these loans will allow us to reach and engage students and faculty across the University Park campus and in the Centre County community.

The loan of the Josef Albers painting Homage to the Square (It Seems) is a prime example of this type of cross-disciplinary engagement. Albers, a seminal figure in the history of Modern art, is not well represented in the Palmer’s collection. Thanks to the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative, we can present this major work from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collection in connection with an interdisciplinary symposium, “Bauhaus Transfers,” sponsored by the Stuckeman School of Architecture at Penn State, which will convene fifteen scholars from Austria, China, England, Germany, Mexico, Poland, and the United States this fall.”

Erin Coe

About the Palmer Museum of Art

The Palmer Museum of Art on Penn State’s University Park campus is a free-admission arts resource for the University and surrounding communities in central Pennsylvania. With a collection of 9,200 objects representing and spanning a variety of cultures and centuries of art, the Palmer is the largest art museum between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The areas represented in the museum’s permanent collection encompass eighteenth- through twentieth-century painting and sculpture from the United States; international Modern and Contemporary Art, including studio glass; Old Master through nineteenth-century European painting and sculpture; prints, drawings, watercolors, photographs, and other works on paper from Europe and the Americas; Japanese woodblock prints and watercolors; international ceramics, ranging from Andean and ancient Korean and Chinese through twentieth-century and contemporary Danish, English, Japanese, and American; and African sculpture, textiles, and utilitarian objects. The permanent collection also includes ancient Greek ceramics, ancient Roman coins from Palestine, fifteenth- through eighteenth-century Chinese painting and drawing, and medieval sculpture and decorative arts. The museum presents nine exhibitions and more than 100 annual programs and events throughout the year. With eleven galleries, a print-study room, a 150-seat auditorium, and an outdoor sculpture garden, the Palmer Museum of Art is the leading cultural resource for the region and reaches 35,000 visitors annually.

Reading Public Museum
Reading, PA

“The Reading Public Museum is proud to participate in the new partnership with the Philadelphia Museum of Art and fellow institutions throughout the commonwealth as part of the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative. We are hoping that loans between members of the consortium will enhance our visitors’ experiences with our own outstanding collection of American art and prompt them to explore connections to other aspects of the collection at RPM. We will be able to tell more complete stories about artistic movements and styles through the centuries and hope that our audience will learn and take inspiration from this exciting new enterprise.”

John Graydon Smith
Director and CEO

About the Reading Public Museum

The mission of the Reading Public Museum (RPM), a dynamic center of lifelong learning, is to collect, preserve, and interpret objects of art, science, and civilization in order to educate, enlighten, and engage current and future generations. Founded in 1904, RPM’s 26-acre campus is now comprised of galleries, a 25-acre arboretum, and a planetarium. The Museum's current collection of 300,000 objects, including just over 220,000 scientific specimens, ranks among the largest collections in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Permanent exhibits focus on the sciences, history, and art. Galleries include: Natural Science, Ancient Civilizations, Arms & Armors, Latin America, Pennsylvania German, North American Indian, Modern & Contemporary, European, and American Art, including an important collection of Pennsylvania and New England Impressionism. The Reading Public Museum welcomes 100,000 visitors through its doors each year, reaching both local residents and visitors to the area from surrounding counties.

The Trout Gallery
Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA

“Collections of art and cultural artifacts are the keystone to an art museum. They occupy a central role in sustaining the surrounding space. They function as a fundamental point of reference on which the museum’s other building blocks rest. They hold together the collective forces of people, history, place, and time. Consequently, art museums devote substantial resources to building their collections, because these essential cultural objects hold open the doorway to ideas, memories, places, and events.

However, as critical notions of property, title, voice, standing, and identity are applied to collections, raising even the question of such ownership and the museum as a concept, the notion of sharing collections has become a central, driving, and invigorating force in museums and the communities they serve. And while the notion of sharing objects once seemed as challenging as removing a keystone from its central place in an arch, it is only by such action that we create new and engaging portals of experience so that all of our communities benefit. To this end, the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative plays a vital role in bringing important works of art into contact with communities, audiences, collections, and environments in ways that stimulate new ideas, relationships, levels of understanding, and experience. By sharing the richness of their collections, as well as the expertise of their staff, these institutions expand and multiply their impact and that of their partner institutions. Indeed, The Trout Gallery at Dickinson College will be adopting the collections-sharing model established by the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative and applying it to the Carlisle-area community, repeating and echoing the impact of this broader initiative.

The Trout Gallery and Dickinson College are honored to participate in this program and to serve the Carlisle and central Pennsylvania community.”

Phillip Earenfight

About The Trout Gallery

Created in 1983, The Trout Gallery is the art museum of Dickinson College. It seeks to inspire creativity and to support the study and experience of the visual arts through direct contact with works in the gallery’s collections and exhibitions. It serves the students, faculty and staff, and alumni of Dickinson College; the residents of the Carlisle–central Pennsylvania area and their visitors; and the broader academic and artistic communities. It meets its objective through its collections, exhibitions, programs, publications, and professional resources.

The Trout Gallery collection is global in scope, with an emphasis on works on paper. Upon the creation of The Trout Gallery, the college’s collections of art and ethnographic artifacts that had been acquired over time since the founding of the college in 1773 were consolidated into the museum’s core holdings. Since 1983, the collections have grown to more than 6,000 works, with particular strengths in European and American prints and drawings, and ethnographic materials from sub-Saharan Africa. Annual attendance, comprised of students, faculty, and members of the surrounding community, is 8,000.

The Westmoreland Museum of American Art
Greensburg, PA

“The Westmoreland is honored to be part of this initiative made possible by Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation for American Art with the Philadelphia Museum of Art as our catalyst partner. One of our current featured exhibitions, The Outsider’s Gaze, is anchored by two works on loan from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which led to two loans from the Erie Art Museum as well as private collectors and resulted in a focused exhibition that examines European Americans’ depictions of Native Americans. It is wonderful to be able to bring these works to southwestern Pennsylvania for our visitors to experience, and we are looking forward to the next phase of this partnership.”

Anne Kraybill
The Richard M. Scaife Director/CEO

About The Westmoreland Museum of American Art

The Westmoreland Museum of American Art offers a place to share compelling and meaningful cultural experiences that open the door to new ideas, perspectives, and possibilities. Established in 1959 and located in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, The Westmoreland is the only museum dedicated to American art in western Pennsylvania. The Museum's permanent collection—more than 3,400 objects of fine and decorative American art—includes works by major artists from four centuries. The Westmoreland expanded its building in 2015, along with the scope of its permanent collection, to include post-1950 works of American art. The permanent collection, with its strong focus on the art and artists of southwestern Pennsylvania, is complemented by an impressive schedule of temporary exhibitions—both nationally traveling and those organized in house—as well as community-oriented programming and special events. A primary resource for the region, The Westmoreland serves approximately 25,000 visitors of all ages each year.

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For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art by phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at pressroom@philamuseum.org. The Museum is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call 215-763-8100.