Fairfield University Art Museum Receives Art Bridges Foundation Funding

Fairfield University Art Museum Receives Art Bridges Foundation Funding

Patrons take in drawings at the Fairfield University Art Museum's Walsh Gallery.

The grant is providing $40 million in funding to 64 museums nationwide and will eliminate many common barriers to access.

 

The Fairfield University Art Museum is the proud recipient of a three-year grant totaling $56K from the Art Bridges Foundation, the national arts nonprofit founded by philanthropist Alice Walton. The initiative, entitled “Access for All,” will provide $40 million in funding to 64 museums nationwide.

“Access for All,” aims to increase access to museums across the country and foster engagement with local communities by covering the costs of free admission days and expanded free hours as well as programming, outreach, and community partnerships that together, will eliminate many common barriers to access.

Each museum will have the opportunity to use the funds to develop tailored programming specifically for their communities. The Fairfield University Art Museum is using its funds to support extended hours for the museum. The generous funding from Art Bridges will allow the Museum to be open on Thursdays until 8 p.m. for the next three years.

Fairfield University Art Museum is one of four museums in Connecticut to receive grant funding, including Mattatuck Museum, New Britain Museum of American Art, and Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

“Fairfield University Art Museum is honored to be a part of Art Bridges’ 'Access for All' initiative, allowing us fulfill our mission of providing the Fairfield County community the opportunity to connect to art, ideas, and each other,” said Carey Mack Weber, executive director of the museum. “Our diverse audiences have long asked for extended hours, particularly to accommodate those who work during the day. We hope that this initiative will bring new visitors and new excitement, as well as expanded partnerships, allowing us to welcome more community members than ever before.”

In addition to the Fairfield University Art Museum, museums participating in the Access for All initiative span 36 states and Puerto Rico. Among the 64 partners representing a broad range of locations are the Howard University Gallery of Arts (Washington, D.C.); Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (San Juan, PR); Plains Art Museum (Fargo, ND); Portland Museum of Art (Portland, ME); San Diego Museum of Art (San Diego, CA); Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY); Wichita Art Museum (Wichita, KS); and Yellowstone Art Museum (Billings, MT). The full list of participating museums can be found on the Art Bridges website.

“Access for All” represents a sweeping effort to get people back to museums after Covid-19 brought declines in revenue, staffing, and attendance. With many museums seeing just 71 percent of their pre-pandemic attendance, the new initiative will aim to restore pre-pandemic levels, and open opportunities for all people to enjoy American art by reducing barriers to access and strengthening community relationships. 

This initiative positively impacts the accessibility of the landmark exhibition In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Artist and Solder for Human Rights currently on view in the Museum’s Bellarmine Hall Galleries, and Szyk: The Interactive Experience in the Museum’s Walsh Gallery. On view through December 16, starting on November 2gallery hours will shift from Tues-Sat. 11 a.m. — 4 p.m., to being open Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m.— 4 p.m., Thursday 11 a.m. —8 p.m., and Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. — 4 p.m. Docent-led tours are available. Check Eventbrite (fuam.eventbrite.com) for tour details and additional programming. The museum and its programs are always free and open to all.

About Art Bridges Foundation

Art Bridges Foundation is the vision of philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton. The mission of Art Bridges is to expand access to American art in all regions across the United States. Since 2017, Art Bridges has been creating and supporting programs that bring outstanding works of American art out of storage and into communities. Art Bridges partners with a growing network of over 220 museums of all sizes and locations on nearly 700 projects across the nation, impacting over 4.1 million people, to provide financial and strategic support for exhibition development, loans from the Art Bridges Collection, and programs designed to educate, inspire, and deepen engagement with local audiences. The Art Bridges Collection represents an expanding vision of American art from the 19th century to present day and encompasses multiple media and voices. For more information, visit artbridgesfoundation.org.

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