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Philbrook Joins 11 Other Midsized Art Museums to Share $24 Million in Emergency Grants to Navigate the Challenges Posed by the Pandemic

Tulsa, September 21, 2020 — As part its efforts in the face of the global COVID-19 crisis, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recently awarded Philbrook Museum of Art $731,000 in emergency funds, part of the new Art Museum Futures Fund — a grant program starting with nearly $24 million to be distributed to 12 mid-sized art museums across the nation.

With the pandemic raging across America, arts and cultural institutions are particularly vulnerable to the extraordinary financial fallout and face potentially permanent closures as a result. This new emergency grant from the Mellon Foundation is aimed squarely at supporting those organizations with immediate funding as they adapt to unprecedented financial obstacles posed by this worldwide health crisis.

“We are thankful for the generous support by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and honored to be including with these highly respected peers,” said Philbrook President and CEO Scott Stulen. “This gift comes at a time of tremendous need and will support our continued work to make Philbrook a welcoming, inclusive and relevant cornerstone of our community. It is also a recognition of our leadership innovative work to build the resilient museum of the future”

Philbrook is the only museum selected in Oklahoma—and one among just twelve in the nation—to receive this grant in recognition of an ongoing commitment to bringing people together through its mission to “make a creative and connected community through art and gardens.”

Each grantee in the first round of the Art Museum Futures Fund serves as a crucial steward of their distinguished collections, demonstrates an exceptional commitment to local communities, and regularly offers programming that engages with the richness and complexity of the American experience. The Asian Art Museum (San Francisco), Brooklyn Museum (NYC), El Museo del Barrio (NYC), Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston), McNay Art Museum (San Antonio), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Nevada Museum of Art (Reno), Oakland Museum of California, (Oakland), Pérez Art Museum (Miami), Philbrook Museum of Art (Tulsa), Queens Museum (NYC), and The Studio Museum in Harlem (NYC) have been named as recipients of AMFF’s initial grantmaking.

“This critical operating support maintains key positions across the entire Museum, and funds many of the necessary measures taken to ensure the safety of our guests,” said Philbrook Deputy Director Megan Nesbit. “As cultural institutions across the country face an uncertain forecast, we are bolstered by both the Mellon Foundation’s financial investment in the future of Philbrook and their inspired leadership in developing this initiative.”

About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive.

About Philbrook Museum of Art

At Philbrook Museum of Art, we are committed to being Tulsa’s most welcoming and engaging cultural institution. Through bold action and strategic investment, we create a space for new ideas, diverse stories and perspectives, and social connection. Housed in the former Midtown home (built 1927) of Genevieve and Waite Phillips, the Philbrook Collection has grown to over 14,500 objects with a focus on American, Native American, and European art. Philbrook Museum of Art opened on October 25, 1939, with the goal of being an institution “housing, preserving, and displaying therein works of art, literature, relics and curios, including those representative of the native North American Peoples.” Serving over 160,000 visitors annually, Philbrook shines a light on Tulsa’s storied and complex past while building a diverse and creative vision of the city’s future.