Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
State-run museums have been closed for nearly 10 months.
With no in-person visitors, revenue has been impacted.
But the National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum and Visual Arts Program received some good news at the end of 2020.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced emergency COVID-19 grants totaling $3 million in support of small museums across the United States.
The NHCC was awarded $200,000 to be used by the art museum and visual arts department.
The money was distributed in the second round of grants awarded through the Art Museum Futures Fund, which the Mellon Foundation launched in September.
In the first round, the fund awarded grants totaling $24 million to 12 mid-size museums.
“America’s small-sized arts and culture institutions sustain their communities by providing access to transformative and wide-ranging artistic contributions, while also preserving many different histories and cultural legacies,” said Elizabeth Alexander, Mellon Foundation president. “As the pandemic continues to threaten the future viability of museums that have long been underresourced, we must do our part to strengthen support for these organizations and the trenchant work they tirelessly undertake to enrich and expand our American story.”
According to the Mellon Foundation, the grant is for the NHCC Art Museum and Visual Arts Program to rehabilitate the technological infrastructure for social media, virtual exhibitions and its archive.
The grant will also fund a public relations/marketing/social media position. The position has been empty since the fall of 2019 and the state of New Mexico is currently under a hiring freeze.
The NHCC also plans to hire a part-time bilingual arts educator/gallery assistant and admissions staff for the NHCC Art Museum.
The remainder of the grant would go toward the care and storage of the Rudy Padilla Paño Collection, which the museum acquired in February 2020.
The private collection of paños – drawings on handkerchiefs – includes work by incarcerated Chicano or Latino individuals. Albuquerque’s Rudy Padilla, who was formerly incarcerated, spent decades building the collection.
According to the Mellon Foundation, the grant funds will be administered by the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation.
The funds are to be used over the course of 14 months – which began Nov. 24 – and are to be spent according to the terms of the grant.
The NHCC was the only New Mexico museum to receive the Mellon Foundation grant during this round.