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26 Mar 2019

Director's Message: Spring 2019

Dear Members and Friends,

Happy spring! This season, we are celebrating thirty years of the American Folk Art Museum at Lincoln Square with our new exhibition Made in New York City: The Business of Folk Art. Whether you are enamored by New York because of memories of riding carousels in Coney Island or its role as the financial and commercial capital of the world, you will be delighted by nearly one hundred paintings, portraits, quilts, weathervanes, pottery, and furniture beautifully displayed in the exhibition. Curated by Elizabeth V. Warren, Made in New York City traces the rise of the Empire City through the lens of folk art produced in what are now all of the five boroughs of New York. The artworks presented deliver on the excitement, innovation, and imagination elicited in the name New York City.

At the Self-Taught Genius Gallery in Queens, our companion exhibition New York Experienced also delights all those who love the Big Apple. And at Citigroup Building in our neighborhood, the museum is exhibiting A Kingdom in Pieces, a joint show with work by artists at Fountain House Gallery & Studio in Long Island City.

The museum has received wonderful recognition this past season. Our recent exhibitions Paa Joe: Gates of No Return and John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night drew laudatory reviews, including in The New York Times. At the Winter Show in January, the museum acquired a rare and beautiful eighteenth-century fraktur by the “Easton Bible Artist” Johannes Ernst Spangenberg, which is illustrated and described further on our website. Our collection is also being appreciated outside the walls of the museum, with more than forty drawings by Inez Walker that are now on view at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

The 30/60 Anniversary Endowment Campaign was recently announced, commemorating thirty years at 2 Lincoln Square and the sixtieth anniversary of the museum in 2021. The increased endowment will afford opportunities for the next generations of the museum’s audiences to experience the impact of self-taught art across time and place. Naming opportunities are being sought for staff positions, exhibition spaces, and education programs. We are honored to announce the first endowed exhibition gallery has been named in honor of Jonathan and Karin Fielding, Los Angeles─based philanthropists and collectors who have been generous funders of the museum over the last decade.

The museum also received important financial contributions from its 2018 annual appeal─the best in three years. Thank you! Additional support was received for exhibitions, education, and institutional operations from the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc. and the Goodnow Fund. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded significant funding toward our Folk Art Reflections series for adults with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The Foundation’s generous gift will afford expanded programming in New York communities.

As you can see, there is a lot of activity at the American Folk Art Museum in Manhattan and Queens. My museum colleagues and I look forward to seeing you at both of our locations this season!

With best wishes,


Jason T. Busch
Director | American Folk Art Museum