American Folk Art Museum
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Margaret Robson (1932–2014)
Image: STRANGE FRUITS, Ulysses Davis (1913–1990), Savannah, Georgia, after 1968, paint on wood with glass, 19 x 9 x 9 in., American Folk Art Museum, gift of John and Margaret Robson, 2001.14.1. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

September 16, 2014

The American Folk Art Museum records with sadness the loss of Margaret Robson. Margaret was passionate about and collected works by self-taught artists. She served on the museum’s Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2007, bringing her distinguished record of public service and professional experience to the role. Margaret is remembered as a woman of strength, focus, elegance, and generosity. In addition to her position on the long-range planning committee, Margaret donated works of art to the collection and provided funding for major exhibitions. Chief among her contributions was the creation of the Henry Darger Study Center Fellowship, which enabled scholars to gain unprecedented access to this archival resource while working with museum staff in a program that lasted four weeks. The Board of Trustees and staff of the museum extend heartfelt sympathy to Margaret's family and friends.
Jacqueline Porret-Forel (1916–2014), Charlotte Zander (1930–2014), and Monika Kinley (1925–2014)
May 29, 2014

The Board of Trustees and staff of the American Folk Art Museum are saddened to learn of the loss of esteemed colleagues in the field of art by the self-taught. Dr. Jacqueline Porret-Forel, who was a founding member of the Collection de l'Art brut in Lausanne and a leading expert on Aloïse Corbaz, died on March 28, 2014. Charlotte Zander, collector, patron, and founder of a gallery and a museum that specialized in works of art by autodidacts, died on March 12, 2014. Monika Kinley, an early champion of art by the self-taught, died on March 9, 2014. Each of these women made important contributions to the field. Their presence and their voices will be missed.
An Important Message from Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice
February 5, 2014

Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice, Executive Director, is pleased to announce staff changes at the Museum that will greatly enhance its ability to move forward and forge new pathways in traditional folk art and art by the self-taught. Effective immediately, Stacy C. Hollander, Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions, adds Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs to her title and portfolio of responsibilities; and Elizabeth Kingman, Director of Development, becomes Deputy Director for Administration and Development. “These able and deserving ambassadors for the Museum have made significant contributions to operations throughout the past decade (and more),” commented Dr. Radice, “and it is a pleasure to introduce them to you. We hope you will take time to learn about our wonderful colleagues in these interviews, conducted over the past few days. And do seek them out at an opening reception or other special event. They will be happy to spend time with you discussing the Museum and its offerings.”

INTERVIEW WITH STACY C. HOLLANDER
Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs, Chief Curator, and Director of Exhibitions

How did you become interested in folk art?

I became interested in folk art in the mid-1980s, when I was accepted into the master’s degree program that the American Folk Art Museum had launched with New York University. I had always drawn and painted, and I was interested in art history and antiques, so the program in folk art studies was attractive on many levels. As I was to learn very quickly, the field offered so much more and I fell in love with the art and also with the research to an extent I had not anticipated. In addition to the refreshing candor and freedom of the art itself, there was an openness in the academic side of the field that was very appealing to me. Also appealing was the certitude of art that resisted being defined by others yet offered so much room for original research and original thinking. As part of the program, I did several internships in the museum’s curatorial department, and never looked back.

What is the most alluring aspect of folk art, in your view? Why is it so compelling?

Self-taught art literally encodes the individual experience of being human. It represents a dynamic creative act and there is no clock on that urge. Today’s artists could not possibly be the same as the artmakers of the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries because life has changed and the art and artists with it. And it is the natural evolution of the United States and its citizens over time that gives form and content to this art that continues to emerge and thrive outside the canon of art historical orthodoxy. The art is relevant, personal, and touches us today both through its earliest expressions, and the ways in which the artists keep surprising us with their thinking, their inventiveness, and their originality. I think it is such qualities of intimacy and meaning that have ensured the growing attention the field is garnering, especially in an age where human contact, relating on a person-to-person basis, is diminished.
The American Folk Art Museum has always taken an art-world view of self-taught art. The stance is rooted in the idea that this is not art of the past to simply marvel at, that “folk art” started at this time and ended at that, but that it is an ever-changing response to the world by unique individuals, and there is no time limit on that kind of self-motivated creativity. In fact, we are the only folk art museum with a curatorial position dedicated to the art’s most current expressions.

How has the field changed over the years?

Ideas about folk art have changed dramatically over the years that I have been with the museum. I like to think that the American Folk Art Museum has much to do with that and that I have had some share in contributing to that maturing narrative. Many people do not realize that the Museum has been around for fifty years, approaching topics and artists who were not even on the radar in the field at large. As the only urban folk art museum, we have a certain obligation to consider our art within a larger framework, and that actually encourages a mental dexterity that has resulted in interesting installations, a recontextualization of art and artists, juxtapositions of material, and new discoveries. Amazingly, our collection has been formed almost entirely through gifts, and I believe that it is this embracing and flexible view, as well as our situation in the cultural center of New York, that has continued to attract major donations.

Is there really a difference between folk art and all other art?

I have had the benefit of a long perspective and a body of knowledge that allows me to see connections in self-taught art over the centuries, and also the paths the art negotiates with other artmaking streams. For some years we have been exploring the dialogue that has always existed between the work of self-taught and academically trained artists. One such exhibition that was a dream of mine for years brought together portraits by the nineteenth century artist Ammi Phillips, whose work I had always seen as sublime color and gestural abstractions, and the modern master Mark Rothko, whose paintings I have loved since I was a child. Another favorite exhibition revolved around a piece in the collection that I hold very dear, the Phrenological Head attributed to Asa Ames. There had never been a museum exhibition devoted to the fascinating portrait busts sculpted by this little known upstate New York artist. I was able to identify subjects and family histories, and to also reposition the work within the larger context of Renaissance sculpture traditions. A career thrill was the discovery, through correspondence with a descendant of the Ames family, of the existence of a remarkable daguerreotype of the artist himself seemingly carving a self-portrait. Phenomenal.

What are your goals as you begin your next chapter with the Museum?

There are so many ideas that are provoked by the art, and as a curator, I have the joy of being able to pursue those ideas, roll them around in my mind, and ponder and dream. And for me this is a creative act, making and saying something new and beautiful that I can share. And I hope that I am making connections that others can see and understand, that I am helping visitors to discover beauty and significance where they may not have found it before. We have contributed some game-changing moments, such as the phenomenal installation of 651 red and white quilts at the Park Avenue Armory  that transcended all boundaries between conventional ideas about art, design, quilts, folk art. We were the first New York museum to present groundbreaking exhibitions of artists such as Henry Darger and Martín Ramiréz. Under Anne Radice's leadership there is a revitalized recognition of the importance of bringing our collections and curatorial visions to museums around the country and around the world.  We have already been presenting exhibitions in alternative locations, such as the critically acclaimed exhibition Compass: Folk Art in Four Directions at the South Street Seaport Museum, and we will continue to expand our reach through traveling exhibitions, such as the upcoming Self-Taught Genius, whichintroduces an original premise we hope will change the way we speak about this art. Through ambitious exhibitions, educational programs, scholarship, and technology, we know we will engage new audiences who have yet to discover the power of this artistic legacy.

INTERVIEW WITH ELIZABETH KINGMAN
Elizabeth Kingman, Deputy Director for Administration and Development

What led you to pursue a career in museum administration and, more pointedly, with the American Folk Art Museum?

As a lifelong New Yorker, I feel a great sense of pride for this city’s museums, which provide access to culture and creative inspiration for every visitor and resident. I am honored to be a part of the team at the American Folk Art Museum.

My background is in math rather than in art. My undergraduate degree was in math and economics, in an honors program at Northwestern University, and I have a Master of Public Administration from the Wagner School at New York University, specializing in financial management for non-profits. As an art enthusiast but not an art expert, I have found a great connection to the personal expressions conveyed through folk art and art by the self-taught. The works that we show bring to life the world of each artist. Every viewer has a personal response to every artwork, and views it through the realm of his or her own experiences. Each exhibition that the museum presents has a distinct point of view, and with each one, I learn about a different aspect of the importance of this work.

What are your goals for the Museum moving forward?

I came on board as membership manager seven years ago and was very impressed by the dedication of our members. From those who have just joined to those who have been members over four decades, our members have such a strong love for this material, and are always eager to learn more and to share their knowledge. I am energized by this enthusiasm. The dues from our member base, which is nationwide, support the Museum's initiatives: to maintain and build a world-class collection of traditional folk art and works by self-taught artists, to provide innovative educational programs, and to create stellar exhibitions at Lincoln Square and around the country.

My goals are to galvanize constituents old and new, continue to create opportunities for Museum audiences, open new “touch-points” so more people can connect with us, and attract new art lovers. I know firsthand that it is our audience of friends, members, and donors that allows this Museum to thrive.

How do people get involved with the Museum—specifically those who love art, folk art, and art by the self-taught?

This year I have worked closely with Trustees and volunteers to help build several groups to deepen and expand our base of supporters, such as the Council for Traditional Folk Art and the Council for the Advancement of Art Brut and the Self-Taught. I am especially proud to have been part of the formation of the new young supporters group, Young Folk. Chaired by Abigail Stone and Maria Fillas, and set to officially launch in March, Young Folk has a bold mission to engage folk art enthusiasts in their twenties and thirties, and to create new devotees for this material through innovative and creative events, programs, and materials.

In the past year, many of the important projects undertaken by the Museum, such as the digitization of Folk Art magazine, new digital signage at the Museum, several of our educational programs, and the creation of the beautiful Folk Couture catalog, among others, have been made possible by a dedicated individual or foundation. This is enormously gratifying.  I look forward to continuing to get to know the interests of many of our current donors as well as those who may be new to the Museum. I look forward to working together to lean what specific projects most interest each of you.

How does the Museum attract new audiences?

The Museum had record attendance last year, with over 100,000 visitors in 2013. We instituted a program of surveys to learn more about our audiences, and found that one of the top factors driving visitors was the recommendation from a friend. Other ways we reach new audiences include partnerships with other organizations, institutions, and fairs, such as the Metro Show, the Outsider Art Fair, the Affordable Art Fair, the Armory Show, the National Executive Services Corps, Blue Engine, Damsels in Design, and Lincoln Center’s Young Patrons, who will visit the Museum for a special event this spring.

One important event each year is the Museum’s annual fall benefit gala. This scintillating event introduces so many to the Museum because it brings together all of the various groups involved with the Museum, and their friends. The Gala involves our newest supporters as well as our long-time devotees, fine art enthusiasts and those who want to learn more about art, traditional folk art collectors, and collectors of art of the self-taught—and, it's always a fun evening!

How do you pull off so many events throughout the year, and how do they help the Museum?
 
I really enjoy the tremendous input of others and the energy that so many people bring to an endeavor like the Gala. It was an honor to work closely with last year’s co-chairs, Yaz Hernández and Board Chairman Laura Parsons, and committee members Liz Warren, Monty Blanchard, Lucy Danziger, and Patricia Mears, to put together a wonderful evening. Together with host Tim Gunn, honorees Dr. Valerie Steele and Lucy Sykes, and honorary Chair Betsy Bloomingdale, we organized an event that raised nearly half a million dollars for the Museum’s education programs. (By the way: we are currently beginning plans for next year’s gala. Please contact me if you are interested in joining the planning committee with a pledge to fill a table.) The Young Folk are others who are passionate about what we are all trying to accomplish at the Museum. The results are astonishing.

Anything you’d like to share with those reading this interview?

We continue to build the Museum’s reach and to be in close contact with our constituents through digital communications. The Museum regularly promotes the collection, exhibitions, reviews, programs, fund-raisers, and interesting items about artists or objects in the collection through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Please keep in touch and share or follow us on social media! I look forward to seeing you at the Museum in the coming year.
Director Elected to Active Membership in Association of Art Museum Directors
November 15, 2013

The Association of Art Museum Directors has elected Anne-Imelda Radice, PhD, Executive Director of the American Folk Art Museum, to active membership. The Association of Art Museum Directors represents a select group of directors of the largest museums throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Eligibility pertains to the purpose, size, and standards of operation of an art museum, and is also based on the qualifications of both the individual director and the specific museum.

Laura Parsons, the Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, commented: “Dr. Radice’s participation in this prestigious organization is a tribute to the American Folk Art Museum and its standing in the museum and art community. We are so pleased to be represented in this distinguished group of professionals who are dedicated to best practices and to establishing and maintaining the highest standards in the field.”

Dr. Radice stated: “I am honored to serve in this way and look forward to working with colleagues from across the country. I think of myself as a lifelong learner, and hope to learn much that will benefit the Museum.  My hope is also that my experience will play an important role in informing others.”

Dr. Maxwell L. Anderson, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, added: “It’s very welcome news to have Anne Radice’s voice added to the select membership of the Association of Art Museum Directors. The breadth of her experience, together with her sound judgment, entrepreneurial vision, and collaborative spirit, will add greatly to our professional dialogue and will enhance our relevance to the lives of tens of millions of museum goers every year.”
Institute of Museum and Library Services Grants Museum $137, 462
September 13, 2013

The American Folk Art Museum has received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in the amount of $137,462. The Museum will apply this grant, with matching funds, to its digital and online activities, which will be enhanced in order to increase public access, promote lifelong learning, and provide a richer experience to larger audiences.   

“This grant will enable the American Folk Art Museum to further advance its mission by integrating new technologies into our operations,” said the Museum’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Laura Parsons. “A newly designed website will be the centerpiece of our overall initiative. It will increase our ability to deliver audience-focused programs while serving as the pre-eminent source of folk art scholarship.”

The Museum aims to place the online browser—the learner—at the center of the ongoing dialogue about folk art and its meanings, with links to such enhancements as: more than 115 issues of Folk Art (formerly The Clarion), a scholarly journal published by the Museum from 1971 to 2008; curriculum guides for teachers; image archives documenting exhibitions past and present; video archives of lectures and symposia; stepped-up social media programs; oral histories; and a continuing education program, among other initiatives.

The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.  Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement.  Its grant making, policy development, and research helps libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov.
Henry Luce Foundation Grants Museum $1.6 Million
June 21, 2013

The Henry Luce Foundation, in conjunction with its 75th anniversary initiative, has awarded the American Folk Art Museum $1.6 million in funding for a national traveling exhibition of masterworks from the Museum’s collection. “Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum”  will feature more than 100 works of art that celebrate the singular power of folk art and art by the self-taught. The exhibition will showcase the Museum’s extraordinary collection—examining “self-taught” as an enduring American art form with changing implications over three centuries. Whether whirligigs or quilts, drawings or paintings, carvings or constructions, the objects reveal highly personal narratives that reflect the challenges and triumphs of an emerging nation and its evolving national identity.

Commented Dr. Michael Gilligan, president of the Foundation: “For 75 years, the Henry Luce Foundation has fostered scholarship, innovation, and leadership—also attributes of the American Folk Art Museum. We are proud to sponsor a national tour of their exemplary collection that represents distinctive American creativity.” Said Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice, executive director of the American Folk Art Museum: “We are profoundly honored. The Luce Foundation’s recognition of our unique mission and wonderful collection and programs allows us to share part of our treasures with a national audience in a direct and powerful manner. The Foundation’s support goes beyond the American Folk Art Museum to celebrate great works that have shaped our country’s heritage and creativity. We are excited to highlight works that not only reach back into our early history but also works made by modern artists who discovered their creative selves along diverse, unorthodox, and alternative paths.”

“Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum” will be on view in New York City from May 13 through August 17, 2014, and is organized by the American Folk Art Museum’s Chief Curator, Stacy C. Hollander, and Dr. Valérie Rousseau, Curator, Art of the Self-Taught and Art Brut. The show will then travel to five venues throughout the country during the next three years; the tour will soon be announced in a joint statement of the American Folk Art Museum and its partners. Accompanying the exhibition will be a fully illustrated catalog, public programs, symposia, digital and online media, and other resources to expand and enhance its accessibility.

Said Ellen Holtzman, the Luce Foundation’s program director for American art: “The grant to the American Folk Art Museum epitomizes the Luce Foundation’s 30-year commitment to raising awareness of the rich scope of American visual art. The national tour is designed to reach maximum audiences across the country, expanding appreciation of the Museum and its signature collection.”

For five decades the American Folk Art Museum has been shaping an understanding of folk art and the work of contemporary self-taught artists through its exhibitions, publications, and educational programs. The Museum’s mission to discover and celebrate these highly personal, individualistic works of art has uniquely endured.

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by the late Henry R. Luce, cofounder and editor in chief of Time Inc. The Luce Foundation supports projects in American art, higher education, East Asia, theology, women in science, mathematics and engineering, and public policy and the environment. Through the American Art Program, begun in 1982, the Foundation has distributed over $145 million to some 250 museums, universities, and service organizations in 47 states, the District of Columbia and internationally.

Read about the award in the New York Times.
Sam Farber (1924–2013)
June 19, 2013

The Board of Trustees and Staff of the American Folk Art Museum mourn the passing of our great friend and supporter, Sam Farber, who served as a trustee from 1996 to 2005 and, thereafter, served as trustee emeritus. A passionate and avid collector of art brut and art of the self-taught, Sam gave important works to the Museum, which greatly enhanced the collection, and also lent his own works generously, helping to raise awareness of and educate the public about this art. Sam was a driving force behind the formation of the Museum’s Contemporary Center; he was also the person most responsible for the establishment of the Henry Darger Study Center. A disciplined thinker, thoughtful, calm yet persevering, Sam took on many tasks that others avoided, managing projects and cultivating relationships on behalf of the Museum. He served tirelessly as head of the Building Committee and oversaw the construction at 45 West 53rd Street. His leadership and financial generosity allowed the Museum to pursue ideas and ventures that otherwise would not have been possible. We were inspired by him and will continue to be inspired by his vision for what the Museum could be. He was a man of style, grace, humility, and intellect.  He will be sorely missed.
The building is not the Museum! The Museum is not the building!
April 11, 2013

The building is not the Museum! The Museum is not the building!

The American Folk Art Museum is grateful for the attention and support of our friends, loyal followers, and those who are checking us out in light of recent news. MoMA’s decision to tear down the former home of the American Folk Art Museum has resulted in a number of articles, some of which have implied that the American Folk Art Museum itself is being demolished. This could not be further from the truth!

Thanks to the generous support of Joyce Cowin and other trustees and supporters, the American Folk Art Museum has an energetic, creative, and vibrant future. We remain grateful for the purchase of the building by our good neighbor, the Museum of Modern Art; the sale of the building was a necessary step for our resurgence. We are also deeply sympathetic to our friends Billie Tsien and Tod Williams as they face the destruction of a building of which we were all proud. The American Folk Art Museum, however, lives on! We are actively achieving our mission through exhibitions and programs at our Lincoln Square location and other venues throughout the city, the country, and the world.

For a balanced view of the Museum’s situation and prospects, please continue to browse this website as well as Robin Pogrebin’s April 2 article in the New York Times.

To see just how vibrant we are, we invite you to visit the Museum tomorrow, at 2 Lincoln Square, and to stay for the liveliness of our weekly Free Music Fridays program.

Thank you all for your attention and support.

The Board of Trustees and staff of the American Folk Art Museum
Valérie Rousseau Appointed Curator of 20th-Century and Contemporary Art
January 16, 2013

Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice, Executive Director, today announced the appointment of Dr. Valérie Rousseau as Curator of 20th-Century and Contemporary Art, responsible for continuing and expanding the Museum’s initiatives in the field of art created by the self-taught, associated with folk art and art brut. This will include planning exhibitions; expanding the collection; research; organizing public programs and scholarly symposia; advising on the Museum’s other education initiatives (school and family programs); and writing exhibition catalogs. She will work closely with Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions Stacy C. Hollander.

Dr. Radice commented, “We are pleased that Valérie is joining the staff of the American Folk Art Museum. Dr. Rousseau is a significant voice in the field, with more than fifteen years of academic and professional experience. Her incisive and refined approach to folk art in its many forms, as well as her scholarly focus on the history of self-taught artists as a discipline within the larger field of art—whether on the university level or within the art community—makes her ideally qualified. As the director of a variety of projects, including exhibitions, publications, and symposia, she has brought to light significant learning in this still burgeoning and fertile area. And even more, she brings a truly global perspective to the discipline.”

Dr. Rousseau will begin her work with the Museum on February 14, 2013. Born in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli (Québec), Canada, she has conducted several studies and projects in this art field, both in North America and abroad, in collaboration with many organizations and museums. In recent years, she acted as an independent curator and scholar, as well as the program director at the Outsider Art Fair (2012 and 2013).

She has organized exhibitions and written catalogs for a number of institutions and galleries on such artists and topics as A.C.M, James Castle, Henry Darger, Guo Fengyi, Sava Sekulić, Charles Steffen, Stas Volyazlovsky, Soviet TASS propaganda posters, and the recent exhibition “Collectors of Skies,” featuring the work of Janko Domsic, Victor Hugo, Zdenek Kosek, Vik Muniz, Dorothy Napangardi, and Achilles G. Rizzoli. Rousseau also organized the traveling exhibition “Richard Greaves: Anarchitect,” which was presented in Lausanne at the Collection de l’Art Brut, as well as “Bill Anhang” at the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, Montréal, and “Papa Sorgente and the Great Antonio” at the Darling Foundry, Montréal.

Dr. Rousseau lectures internationally and is the author of numerous catalogs, essays, and articles. Of particular note is Vestiges de l’Indiscipline: Environnements d’Art and Anarchitectures, published by the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau.

In 1998 Rousseau cofounded the Société des arts indisciplinés (SAI), Montréal, the first Canadian organization devoted to documenting, studying, and presenting the works of self-taught artists. She served as director and curator until 2007. There she established significant archives on the topic.

Rousseau was awarded her PhD in art history at the Université du Québec à Montréal, in 2012. Her PhD studies also included seminars at La Sorbonne-Université Paris 1. There she examined the concept of folk art and institutional theories of art. She received a masters in cultural anthropology at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris, France) in 2007, working on artists’ personal museums and the art brut collection of Jean Dubuffet. In 1998, she received a second masters, in art theory, at the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Dr. Rousseau is an affiliated researcher at the LAHIC (iiAC-CNRS, Paris) and serves on the International Committee of the College Art Association. 

Dr. Rousseau noted: “The American Folk Art Museum has championed the works of self-taught artists with a constant and impressively high standard of programs. A significant presence in the field, the Museum was the first in the U.S. to devote itself solely to folk art. Its unique, rich, and comprehensive collection spans three centuries of visual expression and creativity by the self-taught and those often considered on the “outside.” The personal and often idiosyncratic visions of a number of the artists are compelling and challenge our view of art in our time. I am very excited to join the team of this historical and seminal institution, and to contribute to the excellence and specialization in the collection, research, and exhibition of these works.”
Anne-Imelda Radice Appointed Director
September 5, 2012

The Board of Trustees of the American Folk Art Museum today announced the appointment of Anne-Imelda Radice as its new director. Dr. Radice, a widely respected cultural sector veteran, brings to the position more than thirty-five years of experience as a leader and as an artistic visionary. In her career, she has served in various capacities including curator, museum director, government official, association director, and advisor for public and private cultural institutions. Her most recent government position was as Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, where she served in both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations.

“We are incredibly excited to have Anne as our new director. She has deep experience and is widely admired in the field. We believe she is the ideal person to lead us,” said Monty Blanchard, President of the Board of Trustees.  “This has been a dynamic and positive year for us at the Museum, and we are extremely fortunate to have found a leader of Anne’s quality to join us and to help us achieve the next level. As both an artistic voice and an administrative leader of cultural institutions, Anne has the vision and experience we need to propel us in our continued growth.”

“Having served as both a director and a curator, I have long been impressed with American Folk Art Museum’s collection and its presentation,” said Anne Radice. “The work the Board and staff have done to re-chart the Museum’s course has been gutsy and inspiring, and I am honored to join and have the responsibility of leading their team. I have tremendous respect for curator Stacy Hollander, who has one of the strongest curatorial visions in the field, and I look forward to working with the entire institution as we maintain our strong presence in New York City and expand our museum’s role as the preeminent voice of, and resource for, folk art and the contemporary art of the self-taught in the country.” 

“Anne is a natural leader. She is willing to make bold decisions and has a genuine passion for the arts.  All of this has made her an asset to the American museums community for more than thirty years,” said Ford W. Bell, president of the American Alliance of Museums (formerly the American Association of Museums). “Anne’s experience in Washington combined with her experience in the private sector give her a uniquely diverse background, and I have no doubt we will be hearing about how the institution is flourishing under her tenure for years to come.”

In addition to her work at IMLS, Dr. Radice’s experience includes serving as Acting Assistant Chairman for Programs at the Humanities Endowment and as the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the United States Department of Education and Chief of the Creative arts Division of the United States Information Agency. Dr. Radice was also previously the first Director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts; Curator of the U.S. Capitol, Office of the Architect of the U.S. Capitol; and Assistant Curator, National Gallery of Art.  Dr. Radice holds a PhD from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an MBA from The American University, an MA from Villa Schifanoia School of Fine Arts, Florence and an AB from Wheaton College.  She currently serves on several boards, including those of the African Art Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, Historic Gettysburg Foundation, the College Art Association, the Tom Lea Institute, and the Police Museum in New York City. Among her awards are the US Presidential Citizen’s Medal, the Forbes Medal, and the Heritage Preservation Award.

The American Folk Art Museum, anchored in New York City’s Lincoln Center neighborhood, is America’s premier institution devoted to the aesthetic appreciation of traditional folk art and creative expressions of contemporary self-taught artists from the United States and abroad. The Museum boasts a comprehensive collection of folk art dating from the eighteenth century to the present, and collaborates with other museums to expand its reach across the country.

Anne-Imelda Radice, PhD, has more than thirty-five years of expertise in the cultural and non-profit worlds as a curator, administrator, and director. Prior to her appointment as Director of the American Folk Art Museum, she served as a principal in an international public affairs company and later advised private clients (museums, universities, foundations, and other charities) on a variety of strategic matters. 

Radice served as the Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the largest federal cultural agency (18,000 museums and 123,000 libraries), where she was appointed by President George W. Bush in December 2005 and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March 2006.  During her tenure, IMLS awarded grants totaling $1 billion dollars and received budget increases each year. At the Institute, she created and provided leadership for ‘Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action,’ a national conservation initiative designed to raise public awareness.  The initiative included a National Summit, four forums on conservation across the country, the distribution of three thousand Conservation Bookshelves, collaborative state planning grants, and a resource laden website and international component. 

Radice forged partnerships with the National Endowment for the Arts in The Big Read, an initiative designed to restore reading to the center of American culture, and with the National Endowment for the Humanities in Picturing America, an initiative that brings copies of masterpieces of American art into libraries and classrooms nationwide

Among the many honors she has been awarded, Radice received the Forbes Medal for Distinguished Contribution to the Field of Conservation from the American Institute of Historic and Artistic Works.  In December 2008, President George W. Bush awarded Radice the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest honor that can be conferred on a civilian, in recognition of her exemplary service to the nation.

Prior to joining IMLS, Radice was the Acting Assistant Chairman for Programs at the Humanities Endowment; the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the United States Department of Education; and Acting Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.  She also served as Chief of the Creative arts Division of the United States Information Agency; Acting Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts; the first Director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts; and Curator of the U.S. Capitol, Office of the Architect of the U.S. Capitol; and Assistant Curator, National Gallery of Art. 

She holds a PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; an MBA from American University; and an AB from Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts.  Radice also has an MA from the Villa Schifanoia in Florence, Italy.  She has written and lectured widely on Italian architecture, painting, The United States Capitol, individual artists, conservation, exhibit design, and management. 

She currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of The African Art Museum; Smithsonian Institution; Historic Gettysburg Foundation; The College Art Association; The Tom Lea Institute; and the Police Museum, New York City.

Contact:
Resnicow Schroeder Associates
• Julia Kirchhausen, 212. 671. 5161, jkirchhausen@resnicowschroeder.com
• Ariel Hudes, 212. 671. 5169, ahudes@resnicowschroeder.com

American Folk Art Museum
• Barbara Livenstein, 212. 265. 1040, ext. 113, blivenstein@folkartmuseum.org
President’s Letter—Summer 2012
Dear Friends and Supporters of the American Folk Art Museum,

Friday, August 3, was a truly special day at the American Folk Art Museum! The day started with a great review in the New York Times of our exhibition Compass: Folk Art in Four Directions, currently on display at the South Street Seaport Museum in collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York. In that review, Roberta Smith characterized our institution as “modestly spreading its wings” in an “exuberant and wide-ranging” exhibition that reveals the “Museum’s collection to be one of New York City’s great treasures.”

That afternoon at Lincoln Square, we held the release party for the Museum’s first music CD, the “American Folk Art Museum presents Free Music Fridays, Volume 1.” Ten musicians or groups played for an audience of almost two hundred for over three hours in celebration of the Museum and its programs. It was a joyous evening! The CD was the brainchild of Lara Ewen, a former volunteer-turned-recent employee and impresario who is responsible for the Museum’s social media presence and manages our longstanding Free Music Fridays program. We are grateful to all the talented musicians who participate in this program, and especially to those who licensed their music. The CD is available in our Lincoln Square shop, and we are looking forward to “Volume 2” already!

In my introductory remarks for the party, I reflected on how the musical strains in our recent history have been many and varied. Obviously, our tradition is “folk,” although with some of our challenges over the past few years we have sometimes felt like singing “the blues.” And there were times when we also needed prayers and “hymns” (put in the religious music of your choice) of salvation. Fortunately, Joyce Cowin and certain other Museum trustees, friends, and staff stepped forward with support and dedication, and now we are in a position to “rock ‘n roll!” With what we’ve accomplished together, we should all “Dance! Dance! Dance!”

We are, of course, most proud of “Compass,” our exhibition that tells the story of New York’s long and rich seaport tradition through the creativity and vision of folk artists. It is significant that in addition to the artistic charm, relevance, and overall quality of the exhibition, “Compass” represents a collaboration with two other museums that enabled us to display nearly two hundred great pieces from our collection in a new venue for the presentation of our art. We are particularly grateful to the Ford Foundation (again), The Leir Charitable Foundations, the Danziger family, the Schwartz family, The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, Jackie Fowler, and the Daniel family for their financial support, without which this exhibition would not have been possible. We also want to thank Commissioner Kate Levin and New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, who were instrumental in bringing the three institutions together to realize this great exhibition.

There are many other, less visible developments at the Museum that are equally important in our ongoing revitalization:

We are pleased to announce that, as a result of a generous bequest from our former Trustee David L. Davies and the generosity of his partner, Jack Weeden, the Museum is the grateful recipient of more than $1 million, which we are establishing as the David Davies & Jack Weeden Fund for Exhibitions. This fund will be used to support future Museum exhibitions in our Lincoln Square galleries and elsewhere, and to help us develop traveling exhibitions that will help in our strategic mission of “getting the art out there.” A number of David and Jack's friends have also made pledges in support of this fund.

David was a wonderful friend to the Museum for many years, as a Trustee, as an important collector of folk art and donor of art to the Museum, and as a leading member of the Clarion Society. The Clarion Society was established to honor those who include the Museum in their estate plans. David's generosity reminds us all of the importance of bequests, which leave a legacy to ensure the Museum’s future. For more information about the Clarion Society, please contact Elizabeth Kingman at 212. 265. 1061, or ekingman@folkartmuseum.org.

I am also pleased to announce that the Museum has re-established its Collections Committee, and we have begun to accept or selectively acquire works into our collection. The most recent notable acquisition is a spectacular early 20th-century quilt made by Carl Klewicke (1835–1913), a German-born tailor living in Corning, New York. This tour de force—featuring horses, flags, birds, fountains, and other eye-dazzling motifs—first came to the Museum’s attention in the 1980s during the New York Quilt Project, a statewide quilt documentation effort spearheaded by the American Folk Art Museum. We are thrilled to include this quilt in our collection. The quilt was also featured on the cover of the July/August 2012 issue of The Magazine Antiques, which featured three stories on the American Folk Art Museum including an interview with our trustee, Elizabeth Warren.

We are deep in the process of finding a new Director, as we have mentioned before. The Search Committee has met with a number of strong candidates, and we are optimistic that before the next of these President’s letters we will be able to present a new Director to our community. At the same time we are also rebuilding some of our other institutional capabilities. Over the past couple of months, we have made the following staff additions in addition to Ms. Ewen: we have hired Barbara Livenstein, the former VP of Communications at the Museum of the City of New York as our Public Relations Manager and Karley Klopfenstein, an experienced development officer, as a grants writer. Please join me in welcoming Barbara, Karley, and Lara to the Museum, and don’t hesitate to introduce yourselves if you see them at the Museum.

On a slightly bittersweet note, I also want to recognize here the recent departure of our Acting Director and Chief Administrative Officer, Linda Dunne. The “bitter” is that I will miss working with her; with her energy and dedication to the health of the Museum and her willingness to “slog through” whatever it took to ensure that all aspects of the Museum’s operations functioned effectively and well, Linda made an irreplaceable contribution to the Museum’s stable and successful future in our new incarnation. The “sweet” is my joy for Linda in her finding her “dream” job as Director of Museum Services and Operations at the Rubin Museum of Art, which will give her more time for her husband and family while fully utilizing her extensive experience in museum operations. We wish her well.

We are going to have an exciting fall at the Museum. On September 12, we will open two shows, Foiled: Tinsel Painting in America, presenting more than two hundred examples of this shimmering early 19th-century technique, and Ooh, Shiny!, examining the shiny and reflective materials that have proven to be a persistent impulse in the visual arts. On October 18, we will hold our Glitter Gala fall benefit, and we hope to be in a position by that time to announce the hiring of our new Director. There is a lot for us to look forward to together!

As always, thank you for your past, present, and future support!

Warmly,

Monty Blanchard
President, Board of Trustees
Letter to the Editor
The following letter to the New York Times appeared in the July 4, 2012, edition.

To the Editor:

In “For Arts Institutions, Thinking Big Can Be Suicidal” (Arts pages, June 28), Carroll Joynes, a founder and senior fellow at the Cultural Policy Center of the University of Chicago, refers to the American Folk Art Museum, saying it “was a wonderful museum and they self-destructed.” I can assure you that we are alive and well.

A museum is more than a building; its heart and soul—its exhibitions, its programs, and its collection—are its mission. A key part of our reinvigorated mandate is to “get the art out there,” and our collection is on view in three simultaneous installations: “Jubilation/Rumination,” at our flagship Lincoln Square location; “Compass,” which opened last month at the South Street Seaport Museum; and 14 major works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s recently opened American Wing.

Additionally, the museum has recently added three new trustees, eliminated its debt, and commenced a search for a new executive director. We offer numerous educational, artistic, and music events at Lincoln Square every week and are operating in the black on a yearly budget of about $3.5 million.

To quote Mark Twain, reports of our death are greatly exaggerated. The American Folk Art Museum continues to play a vibrant, exciting, and important role in the cultural ecology of New York City.

Monty Blanchard
President, Board of Trustees
American Folk Art Museum, New York
An Active Winter & Spring
March 29, 2012

Dear Friends and Supporters of the American Folk Art Museum:

Since my last President’s Letter of October 2011, we have been quite active at the American Folk Art Museum, and there is much exciting news to report. I am pleased to share our progress on many fronts, including the completion of a strategic plan, the opening of a great new exhibition, and the commencement of our search for a new Director.

As a key first step in our process of “reimagining, revitalizing, and reinventing” the Museum, we have completed a strategic planning process with the help of David Gordon, the former Director of the Milwaukee Art Museum. The plan characterizes the mission of the Museum as “promoting the appreciation of traditional folk art and the art of self-taught artists to both existing and new audiences by getting the art into the public domain and promoting scholarship into it.” The vision that will guide the Museum’s choices is “to establish the Museum: (1) at the heart of the discourse on the relevance and meaning of folk art and the art of the self-taught to today’s world; and (2) as a professionally governed institution, operating with sustainable finances.”

These mission and vision statements lead us to five major practical goals:

1. Get the art out there
While the Museum’s space at Lincoln Square will be devoted to changing exhibitions, we will also focus on promoting our art via various forms of creative presentation and collaboration. We will draw upon the collection for traveling exhibitions, explore long-term loans to other museums, and sponsor special exhibitions or seminars in non-museum spaces. Currently, 14 of our major pieces are on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in its refurbished American Wing galleries, and we are working with other museums in the New York area on potential future collaborations and exhibitions.

2. Intellectual leadership
The Museum will continue to serve as a leader for debate and discussion about the significance of traditional folk art and the art of the self-taught and its relevance to the wider art world of today. We will work to stimulate interest and promote collecting, through lectures, artist talks, and symposia.

3. Governance strengthening
However well intentioned our decisions over the past decade, the outcome was that we took on obligations we could not meet. We understand that we must be thoughtful about our commitments and live within our resources, and our resolve will be proved through our performance over time. We are working to strengthen the Board of Trustees with new members with diverse talents and backgrounds. We have recently added two new trustees, and we are actively seeking to add more.

4. Spread the word
The Museum is alive, and we are engaged in planning our artistic activities for the long-term. This is wonderful news that we must share with the wider world. As we move forward, we will improve communication with you, our museum friends and supporters, through outreach such as these President’s Letters. We must all remain active and creative to spread the word of the museum’s vitality and merit.

5. Financial sustainability
The Museum is now debt-free and has over $4.5 million in restricted and unrestricted cash and investments. It has multi-year pledges from trustees and other supporters, and generous grants from institutions such as the Ford Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs. The strategic plan has a five-year financial projection demonstrating a balanced operating budget. The Museum’s trustees are committed to expanding the sources of our funding and to increasing our trustee and supporter base, while retaining our cash reserves.

I am also pleased to announce that we have retained Phillips Oppenheim, a leading firm of search consultants, to help us find a new Director, and I want to share my vision of what I hope for from such a person. The Museum needs an energetic and creative leader who can communicate passion for both traditional folk art and the art of the self-taught and who can extend our impact well beyond Lincoln Square. She or he should have vision, warmth, imagination, and great communication skills. The Director should be someone who can attract new resources to the Museum: trustees, donors, curators, collectors, and broader audiences, and who can manage our existing human and financial resources efficiently and effectively. The Director will have an important role in shaping and directing how the Museum carries out the goals of the strategic plan, and will have the primary responsibility for continuing to create an exciting and solvent future for our Museum. This is a tall order and will demand a special person; my fellow trustees and I are confident that we will find such a person, and we expect the Museum will be further invigorated by our new Director’s leadership.

On the artistic front, our Jubilation|Rumination: Life, Real and Imagined exhibition opened in January and is an exciting presentation of works from the range of our collection, mostly added over the last ten years. In the New York Times, Ken Johnson lauded the show as “a wonderful exhibition” from “this irreplaceable institution . . . the beauty of the museum’s approach to art is that it focuses on singularly striking objects.” Senior curator Stacy C. Hollander and I were also seen and heard on the airwaves, on Channel NY1, Bloomberg News, and NPR. Antiques and the Arts Weekly also featured a cover story on the exhibition, and the Huffington Post shared a review and slideshow of images.

The American Folk Art Museum at Lincoln Square is a vibrant, lively, newly refurbished space, and attendance continues to rise with public programs nearly every day of the week. Public tours each Tuesday and Thursday, jazz afternoons each Wednesday, our new “Make It Thursday” series, and our popular “Free Music Fridays” series draw wonderful crowds. This spring, we will launch a new Wednesday “Mastersworks” lecture series, with an in-depth look at one folk art master each week. We hope you can join us there for one or more of these activities.

In January, the Museum held the twentieth annual “Uncommon Artists: The Anne Hill Blanchard Symposium,” with presentations by folk art scholars to examine creativity within a personal, aesthetic, and cultural context. At the Outsider Art Fair, Kevin Sampson spoke about his journey to Venice, sponsored by the Museum, to create site-specific installations in conjunction with the 2011 Biennale along with three other African American self-taught artists—Lonnie Holley, Mr. Imagination, and Charlie Lucas.

We are proud of what we have accomplished so far, but we recognize we have much left to do.

I invite you to be part of our future, and ask you to continue to give us the benefit of your advice and support. Come see Jubilation|Rumination: Life, Real and Imagined at Lincoln Square! And thank you again for your past, present, and future support!

Warmly,

Monty Blanchard, President
Jubilatory January
February 1, 2012

January was a thrilling month for the American Folk Art Museum, as we’ve begun the new year with a new exhibition and a flurry of activity. It was wonderful to see so many of you at the opening reception for Jubilation|Rumination: Life, Real and Imagined.

In the New York Times last week, Ken Johnson lauded the show as “a wonderful exhibition” from “this irreplaceable institution... the beauty of the museum’s approach to art is that it focuses on singularly striking objects rather than on academically certified reputations or institutionalized versions of art history.” I hope you will read the entire review here.

Curator Stacy C. Hollander and President Monty Blanchard were also seen around the airwaves, on NY1 and Bloomberg News, and the Huffington Post shared a review and slideshow of images from the exhibition.

I hope you'll come see the exhibitions and join us for one of our upcoming programs.

Thank you for being a part of our museum family as we reimagine, revitalize, and reinvent. I’ll see you at the museum soon!

Linda Dunne, Acting Director
Bright Future
October 11, 2011

As the new President of the Board of Trustees, I must begin my tenure by communicating to all our loyal supporters the great sense of excitement and opportunity that my fellow Trustees, the Museum’s staff and I feel as AFAM enters its second 50 years. There is no doubt we have been through a financial crisis and there are many challenges ahead of us, but with the commitment of our Board of Trustees and the Museum’s many dear friends, we are entering a dynamic and creative new phase of our existence.

At the Museum, we have begun speaking of our new “three R’s”: reimagine, revitalize, and reinvent. It is an exciting time, for there is much to do. We must continue to be frugal with our financial resources, but for the first time in many years, we can think of undertaking new initiatives and developing new approaches to our mission of collecting, presenting, studying and disseminating our traditional folk and contemporary outsider art. The American Folk Art Museum has, I believe, a unique mission and a unique place in the universe of museums, and all of us associated with it feel a great sense of responsibility and opportunity to remain in the forefront of America’s and the City’s artistic dialogue.

On a personal note, growing up as I did in rural North Carolina, I was blessed with parents who insisted that my brothers and I always treat others with respect and courtesy. The two most important expressions in our household were “please” and “thank you.” I am sure that as President of AFAM, I will be using both of those phrases a lot.

I know I will be saying “please” often and loudly, as the Museum seeks your support and advice. We will be saying “please” to all of our constituencies and friends as we seek the financial support that will fund our many varied activities and ensure the long-term viability of the institution. We will also be saying “please” as we work with other arts institutions to develop creative joint projects and collaborations that spread the awareness of our great art. And we will be saying “please” to any thoughtful friend who can offer us good ideas for how we can best accomplish our varied responsibilities and missions.

This first President’s Letter, on the other hand, must focus on saying “thank you.” There are many people and institutions to whom we owe thanks, and I hope you all will join me in appreciating what they have done for the Museum. Each of them has contributed significantly to make our current opportunity possible.

First, I must thank the Museum’s Board of Trustees with entrusting me with this exciting leadership opportunity.  In particular, I want to thank our Chair, Laura Parsons, whose tenure as President coincided with a period of great financial challenges and who led us through this difficult period with grace and diligence. It was vital to me that she remain a leader here. Second, I want to acknowledge and thank Joyce Cowin, who has joyously committed to Lincoln Square and the Museum for many years, and whose recent substantial financial pledge in support of the revitalized Museum is the rock on which our future is built.

There are many, many others to thank:
• Our loyal staff—who have remained committed to AFAM’s success through difficult times, and have enabled the Museum to continue producing exhibitions, information, educational materials and activities at the highest level. Thank you.
• The Museum of Modern Art—who has been a great neighbor on 53rd Street. Thank you.
• Tod Williams and Billie Tsien—who designed a gem of a building for us and remained friends and supporters throughout our trials. Thank you.
• The Ford Foundation—which has responded to our challenges with significant support and will be stimulating us to become a new model, collaborative and innovative institution. Thank you.
• Kate Levin and NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs—who offered New York City’s support and encouragement to us to continue our unique and independent place in the artistic life of this great City. Thank you.
• The Rose Family—who, by entrusting us with the “Infinite Variety” red and white quilt show, gave us a chance to show New York and the world how great a museum we could be and stretched us to envision new ways we could extend our reach outside one location’s four walls. Thank you.
The New York Times—whose critics’ appreciation of and passion for our art and our institution is second to none and is always valuable to us. Thank you.

Finally, I want to thank all of you who are reading this. You care about our art and our Museum. You are the reason it was worthwhile to save this Museum and its vision, its capabilities and, most of all, its art. You are the reason we are still alive today. We want more of you to see more of what we have, to understand better the exciting creativity, discipline, talent and vision of the many artists, renowned and unheralded, known and anonymous, who we have collected, who we respect and cherish and whose works we show. I hope to get to know all of you better. Thank you for your past, present and future support!

Monty Blanchard, President
Museum Future
September 22, 2011

The Board of Trustees of the American Folk Art Museum today voted unanimously to continue the Museum’s programs and operations at its Two Lincoln Square home and keep its collection intact under its stewardship as an independent entity. The plan includes the election of Chairman Laura Parsons and President Edward V. (Monty) Blanchard Jr., a new financial strategy that ensures the Museum’s fiscal viability, and a dynamic future while continuing its exhibitions, research, and educational programs at Two Lincoln Square.

“As president of the American Folk Art Museum for the past six years I have been privileged to work with a committed group of trustees and staff who have never lost sight of the purpose of a museum: to be stewards of art for the benefit of the public,” said American Folk Art Museum Chairman Laura Parsons. “I am proud to be associated with this Museum and I can say without hesitation that we are working with the motto ‘When one door closes another one is opened.’ I want to especially thank the Ford Foundation and the Department of Cultural Affairs of New York City for the faith they have shown in us and in the importance of our mission.”

Under the leadership of Chairman Laura Parsons, the board voted unanimously to elect Monty Blanchard as the Museum’s new president. Mr. Blanchard is a passionate collector of contemporary and outsider art, and with his late wife Anne donated 75 works from their collection to the Museum in 1998. He has served on the Museum’s Board since 2003 and has acted as Treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee. Mr. Blanchard is a former investment banker and is currently an investor in distressed hotel properties. He is a graduate of Harvard College and has an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“I am honored and excited to be leading the Board as we enter our second 50 years,” said Mr. Blanchard. “We have such an outstanding collection, both traditional and contemporary, a great home at Lincoln Square and a base of loyal supporters, all of which position us well for an exciting future.”

The Board has received significant pledges from Trustees and other donors, including a major gift from the Ford Foundation, toward its operating budget.

“The American Folk Art Museum is an essential facet of New York City’s cultural heritage,” said Darren Walker, Vice President for Education, Creativity and Free Expression at the Ford Foundation. “Its unparalleled collection of folk art, drawn from diverse and self-taught artists, is a powerful showcase of the American spirit and an important public treasure for the people of our city. We are pleased to support the Museum’s development of a new, highly collaborative strategy to ensure that this irreplaceable art reaches as many people as possible.”

In addition to developing a financial plan, the Trustees are also creating a strategy that will increase the visibility of the Museum’s renowned collections and extend the American Folk Art Museum brand. The Museum will seek to establish a revitalized and expanded program of loans to collaborating New York City institutions, as well as packaging traveling exhibitions around the U.S., as ways of sharing folk art with wider audiences. The Brooklyn Museum, the New-York Historical Society, and the Museum of Arts and Design have expressed interest in working with the American Folk Art Museum to identify potential exhibitions where the museums respective collections inform and excite one another. The Metropolitan Museum of Art will display approximately 15 major works of art from the collection in honor of the opening of the American Wing and The Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art.

“We are delighted to learn this news and look forward to continued collaboration with our distinguished sister institution,” said Thomas Campbell, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“The Brooklyn Museum is fully in support of the exceptional collections of the American Folk Art Museum being as accessible as possible to the people of the City of New York,” said Brooklyn Museum Director Arnold Lehman. “We would be pleased to collaborate with other colleague museums in our city to make this happen.”

“We look forward to working with the Folk Art Museum on possible future exhibitions,” said New-York Historical Society President Louise Mirrer. “Their wonderful collection complements our own holdings and we would welcome the opportunity to help build a larger audience for this exciting work.”

Museum trustees, President Blanchard, and the Museum curator and staff will continue to work together to refine the Museum’s strategy and identify opportunities for special exhibitions and educational programs.

We are touched by the outpouring of support in these past weeks and thank you for your continued enthusiasm. Please join, renew your membership, or make a contribution. We look forward to welcoming each of you to our reinvigorated home at Lincoln Square.

Linda Dunne, Acting Director
Moving Date
June 30, 2011

On July 9, 2011, the American Folk Art Museum will move to its home at 2 Lincoln Square, Columbus Avenue between 65th and 66th Streets. At Lincoln Square the museum will present a full schedule of exhibitions and related programming. Currently on view through September is the exhibition Super Stars, highlighting star-studded quilts from the collection, and the deeply affecting 9/11 National Tribute Quilt. For the fall, curator Stacy C. Hollander has organized “Life: Real and Imagined—A Decade of Collecting.” Among the artworks on view will be important portraits by 19th-century artists Ammi Phillips, Jacob Maentel, and the husband-and-wife team of Dr. Samuel and Ruth Shute; contemporary masters include James Castle, Henry Darger, and Martín Ramírez. Admission is always free.

The Museum Shop, which has always been a popular destination for those in the neighborhood as well as New York City residents and tourists, will continue to stock items handcrafted in the folk tradition and books on folk and decorative arts.

Please check the website calendar for events such as the Wednesday Guitar Afternoon series, Free Music Fridays, and quilt-related activities. To contact the administrative office, please call 212. 265. 1040.

We are grateful for your loyal support and hope to see you all at the American Folk Art Museum at Lincoln Square. We look forward to welcoming you!

Laura Parsons, President
Building Sale
May 10, 2011

This has been an extraordinary season for the American Folk Art Museum. Our current exhibitions Eugene Von Bruenchenhein and Quilts: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum have received widespread critical acclaim. Our Perspectives series, now in its second installment, is serving record numbers of schoolchildren with innovative, collection-based learning programs. And just a few weeks ago we welcomed more than 25,000 people to the Park Avenue Armory for a free exhibition of 651 red-and-white quilts, the largest quilt exhibition ever held in the city. The museum’s impact and the quality of our programming have never been greater.

However, this also remains a time of considerable financial challenge for the museum. Efforts to balance our budget and bring meaningful fiscal stability to the museum’s annual operations have been effective, but we have made little progress in raising the substantial funds necessary to satisfy the bond on our West 53rd Street building. The constant burden of servicing and paying down this debt imperils the institution and distracts the museum’s board and staff from our pursuit of programmatic excellence.

We believe that responsible stewardship of our collection, prudent financial management, and outstanding service to the public are of paramount importance. After a lengthy and thorough review of our situation, consultation with professional advisors, and much soul-searching, the board has therefore decided to sell our building in order to eliminate the bond debt entirely and focus on these fundamental priorities. The Museum of Modern Art, which has right of first refusal on the property, has agreed to acquire the building from us. We can now concentrate on building a new future for the American Folk Art Museum.

We will reestablish our Lincoln Square space—which for more than twenty years has been a lively venue for the museum’s exhibitions and programs—as our home and primary base of operations. We are also exploring strategic partnerships with other cultural and educational organizations, traveling exhibitions based on our collection, and an enhanced online presence. While we remain flexible in examining these possibilities, we are firm in our commitment to maintaining the museum’s collection and to presenting the exhibitions and public programs for which the museum is justly renowned.

We thank you for your continued assistance and support as we shape a new identity and a new operational model for the American Folk Art Museum. We look forward to welcoming each of you to our reinvigorated home at Lincoln Square.

Laura Parsons, President