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GETTY FOUNDATION AWARDS GRANTS TO NEW ORLEANS ARTS INSTITUTIONS

Grants Enable Planning for a Post-Katrina Future for the Arts

October 12, 2006

LOS ANGELES—The Getty Foundation today announced seven grants to arts institutions in New Orleans for conservation and transition planning to assist them as they recover from the impact of Hurricane Katrina.

The grants, totaling more than $1 million, are the first round of support from the Getty’s $2-million Fund for New Orleans, established earlier this year to strengthen cultural organizations as they respond to the changed environment for the arts in the city.

The Getty’s transition planning grants will help arts organizations better understand the changed demographics in the city so that they can develop programming, attract membership, or even determine future viability.  “Arts organizations in New Orleans have faced staff reductions, drastically curtailed audiences, reduced hours, and lost income,” notes Joan Weinstein, interim director of the Getty Foundation. “Transition planning grants are designed to help key institutions face these challenges, which may pose far greater long-term consequences for the arts than any physical damage wrought by Katrina.”

The funded organizations represent a cross-section of New Orleans, from the city’s landmark museums in the French Quarter to a small African-American arts organization and a historic house museum.

The largest grant is to a consortium of seven institutions to survey the city’s past and present arts audiences and develop a number of scenarios illustrating what audiences might look like in the future.  Most importantly, the institutions will also outline strategies for collaboration and possible mergers that might strengthen the arts community as a whole.

“Although few cities will face a disaster of the proportions of Katrina, many cities could experience a serious economic downturn that threatens the viability of its cultural institutions,” says Weinstein. “New Orleans may well provide a roadmap for future business models in the cultural sector.”

The collaborating grantees are: Contemporary Arts Center, which presents programs in the visual arts, theater, performance art, dance and music; Ashé Cultural Arts Center, a community-based organization dedicated to African and African-American art, and to the culture, perspective, and lifestyles of the African Diaspora; Longue Vue House and Garden, an eight-acre National Historic Landmark house, garden, and decorative art collection; Louisiana State Museums, which include a six-building collection of properties in the French Quarter housing art, artifacts, and important historic documents related to Louisiana history; the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation, presenting and preserving Louisiana’s music and cultural heritage through festivals and other activities; the New Orleans Museum of Art, the region’s primary fine art museum, which collects and presents art from antiquity to the present; and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, a Smithsonian Affiliate institution dedicated to the visual arts and culture of the American South.  Several of these organizations also received individual Getty Foundation grants for conservation and transition planning.

“Short-term relief is great, but we also need long-term strategic thinking and planning,” said Jay Weigel, director of the Contemporary Arts Center, who will guide the consortium transition planning effort.  “Unless national foundations are going to fund our operations forever, we’re going to have to come up with a whole new way of interacting with our community, because we have a whole new community.  This is an opportunity for the cultural sector to develop for the first time a long-term transitional plan so we can move forward collectively and transform our operations.”

In addition to transition planning, Getty grants will support conservation surveys of damaged buildings and vulnerable collections. These include support for Longue Vue House and Gardens, a National Historic Landmark property, and the Pitot House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to the Fund for New Orleans, the Getty Foundation will provide support for other Gulf Coast arts organizations impacted by Katrina, including the Ohr–O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi. A complete list of the grant awards is attached.

The Getty Foundation will accept another round of grant applications later this year.

FIRST ROUND OF GETTY FOUNDATION GRANT AWARDS FUND FOR NEW ORLEANS

October 2006

Contemporary Arts Center
$250,000
For a collaborative transition planning project for the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans Museum of Art, Longue Vue House and Gardens, Ashé Cultural Center, Louisiana State Museum, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation

Seven arts organizations representing a cross-section of New Orleans will study past, present, and future audiences in the city as they restructure in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  Following a year of staff reductions, diminished audiences, and loss of income, the organizations seek a better understanding of changed demographics in the city so that they can develop relevant programming, attract membership, and explore collaborations and mergers.  After the collaborating institutions complete demographic studies, audience research, and focus group interviews, they will share the results of their study with the larger cultural community in New Orleans.
Contact: Jay Weigel (504) 258-8299

Louisiana Museum Foundation
$220,000
For transition planning for the Louisiana State Museum

The Louisiana State Museum (LSM) is a state agency dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of buildings, documents, and artifacts related to Louisiana’s history and culture.  Encompassing a network of thirteen facilities across the state, LSM’s largest concentration of properties is in the French Quarter of New Orleans and includes six National Historic Landmark buildings.  During the storm, the Old Mint’s historic copper roof was destroyed and HVAC equipment and interiors severely damaged.  With grant support, LSM will now develop a new exhibition master plan that will for the first time link exhibitions in the French Quarter buildings.  The project will identify audience needs post-Katrina, evaluate new interpretive approaches to the collections and buildings, and explore ways to promote the multiple sites as an integrated experience.
Contact: David Kahn (504) 568-6967

Longue Vue House and Gardens Corporation
$200,000
For transition planning and the development of a conservation plan

Longue Vue House and Gardens, a National Historic Landmark property, was the home of prominent philanthropists Edgar and Edith Stern, whose civic endeavors included the founding of Dillard University and the New Orleans Museum of Art.  In the aftermath of Katrina, flooding led to heat and humidity damage to the building and interior finishes and to a severe loss of plantings and hardscape in the historic gardens.  Longue Vue will use its funding to create a Historic Structures Report for the Classical Revival-style main house, a crucial first step in its preservation.  In addition, Longue Vue will revise its strategic plan to identify new collaborative partners and ways that the organization might contribute to the city’s rebuilding efforts as an educational and community resource in the spirit of the Stern legacy.
Contact: Bonnie Goldblum (504) 488-5488 ext. 344

Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Inc.
$180,000
For transition planning

Opened in 1999, the Ogden Museum’s mission is to broaden the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the visual arts and culture of the American South through permanent collections, changing exhibitions, educational programs, and its Goldring-Woldenberg Institute for the Advancement of Southern Art and Culture.  The Ogden was the first museum to reopen after the storm, and despite reduced hours and staff has mounted over 20 exhibitions, many of them Katrina-related.  The Museum will use transition planning support to focus on new strategies for audience development throughout the South and the development of new revenues streams. 
Contact: Richard Gruber (504) 539-9605

Contemporary Arts Center
$150,000
For transition planning

Founded in 1976, the multi-disciplinary Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) is dedicated to the production, presentation and promotion of contemporary art through exhibitions, performances, education programs, and collaborations among the city’s diverse artists, institutions, and communities.  Although closed for four months following the storm, CAC nonetheless provided support to Louisiana artists and office space to area non-profits that had lost their facilities. CAC will use transition planning funds to update its strategic plan, develop a master plan for its buildings, and explore new revenue-generating strategies to ensure the long-term sustainability for the organization. 
Contact: Jay Weigel (504) 258-8299

Louisiana Landmarks Society, Inc.
$75,000
For preparation of a conservation plan for the Pitot House

Built in 1799 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Pitot House is the former Creole colonial plantation and residence of New Orleans’ second mayor, the Honorable James Pitot.  The storm damaged the upper loggia and front gallery, and exposed previously concealed damage to the property. The Society will use Getty funds to prepare a preservation plan for the house and its collections, develop a disaster plan, and evaluate security and fire systems.
Contact: James Dugan (504) 482-0312

Administrators of the Tulane Education Fund
$15,000
For a conservation survey at the Newcomb Art Gallery

The Newcomb Art Gallery preserves the University’s rich craft traditions, including its collection of over 400 examples of pottery, metal work, embroidery and bound books produced from the late 19th through the early 20th century at Newcomb College, the first national coordinate college for women.  The Gallery also houses paintings, drawings, sculptures and photography by faculty, students and important regional artists.  As part of their ongoing recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina, the Gallery will work with a conservator to conduct a thorough conservation survey of the collection.
Contact: Thomas Strider (504) 247-1577

Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, Inc.
$68,000
For a conservation survey

The Ohr-O'Keefe Museum houses over 250 pieces of fine art pottery created by American ceramicist George E. Ohr, as well as related collections of Chinese and Japanese Sumida ceramics, and contemporary works in clay.   The collection also includes African artifacts and African-American folk art, as well as extensive archival materials. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, a new Frank Gehry campus was being constructed, most of which was devastated by the storm.  The Museum will work with a team of conservators to evaluate long-term conservation and storage needs for the collections.
Contact: Marjorie Gowdy (228) 374-5547

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