Worcester Art Museum gets $600K grant to strengthen partnerships

The Worcester Art Museum (Massachusetts Office of Travel / Flickr)

By Prithvi G. Tikhe
Boston University Statehouse Program

This article was originally published in the Telegram.

WORCESTER — The Worcester Art Museum is getting a $600,000 grant from the Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative.

The grant will enable the museum to invest in long-term financial stability and strengthen community partnerships for artistic and public programs, museum officials said.

Founded in 1898, WAM is the second largest art museum in New England.

“We are truly elated,” said Christine Proffitt, grant manager of WAM.

“We regard this award as strong testimony for the highly creative and entrepreneurial work that we do – through our collections, exhibitions, partnerships and public programming – as well as the meaningful impact we have on our local, regional and global communities.”

The Barr Foundation and Klarman Family Foundation teamed up to grant $25 million to 29 arts and cultural organizations in Massachusetts.

The organizations were chosen based on diversity across artistic disciplines, geographic reach, stages of organizational development and budget sizes.

“The Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative was proud to select Worcester Art Museum as a recipient because of its significant importance in connecting the Worcester-area community through art and its continual dedication to bringing vibrant, distinguished and innovative art for people to experience,” said Laura Sherman, director of Greater Boston Grantmaking for The Klarman Family Foundation.

WAM will receive the amount in single annual installments over three years, beginning this fall. This is a one-time renewable grant with a potential lifespan of six years.

Regarded as unrestricted operating grants, these funds are intended by the foundations to be used as investments towards long-term financial stability.

Specifically, BKMAI funds will support WAM’s capitalization and will enable them to focus on several core activities, including strengthening their community partnerships, enhancing artistic and public programming, and refining their Campus Master Plan, a strategy for repairing the deteriorating facility infrastructure and tapping into regional funding opportunities, said Ms. Proffitt.

Ms. Proffitt said WAM’s broader strategic goals over the life of this grant include strengthening the organization, expanding and diversifying their audiences to increase access to WAM’s collection and resources, enhancing financial sustainability, and optimizing facilities to create a more welcoming and visitor-centered museum environment.

“We greatly appreciate the vision and expanded, statewide approach of these philanthropic funding agents by providing cultural anchors and community catalysts, like the Worcester Art Museum, with this rare kind of multi-year unrestricted support,” said Ms. Proffitt.

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