"Museums for America" grant will enable conservation of 80 works of art

Three children, two in dark clothing and one wearing a straw hat, white shirt and dark pants, are centered in a landscape of wildflowers with white blooms, with a row of trees in the background and blue sky and clouds above

Winslow Homer, In the Mowing, 1874. Oil on canvas, 15 3/4 x 23 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Roland P. Murdock Collection — one of the high-priority paintings that will be conserved with IMLS grant money

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has announced grant awards totaling more than $29 million for museums across the nation, including $161,200 for the Wichita Art Museum, one of only three Kansas museums to receive funding from the agency’s largest competitive grant program, “Museums for America.”

Grant money from “Museums for America” will be used to conserve 80 important artworks in WAM’s collection. Partnering with the Midwest Art Conservation Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the museum will conserve a group of high-priority paintings by premier American artists that include Winslow Homer, Benny Andrews, George Bellows, Robert Henri and Walt Kuhn. Grant money also will be used to conserve artworks from WAM’s American Folk Art collection, wide-ranging examples that include an eagle flagpole, 19th-century rocking horse, barber pole, and horse-and-rider weathervane.

Of the 758 total grant applications to IMLS, WAM was one of only 208 projects selected. The “Museums for America” award, of which 126 projects were funded, puts WAM in the company of larger art museums across the country who received this IMLS funding, including the Denver Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Atlanta’s High Museum of Art.

“The award from our nation’s capital conveys a wonderful vote of confidence for the hard work we do at the Wichita Art Museum,” said WAM Director Dr. Patricia McDonnell. “The project to conserve gems in our art collection, for present and future generations of Wichitans and other visitors, is very significant.”

“Our current round of grants for the museum world reflects the important work of our nation’s cultural institutions during the pandemic and the deep thinking about the future of our culture in a post-pandemic world,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “Advancing the preservation of collections, diversity through staff training and programming, community response, and formal and informal education for future generations is inspiring.”

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. IMLS advances, supports, and empowers America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov.