San Antonio Museum of Art Awarded $500,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant (Museum to add American Curator)
The San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) has been awarded a prestigious grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the joint position of curator of American art and chief curator of the collections.
The $500,000 grant is for use over a three-and-a-half year period. The Mellon Foundation’s philosophy is to build, strengthen and sustain institutions and their core capacities, rather than support narrowly defined projects. To do this, the Foundation develops thoughtful, long-term collaborations with grant recipients and invests sufficient funds for an extended period to accomplish the purpose at hand and achieve meaningful results. The Foundation’s support allows institutions such as SAMA to make transformative changes and focus on areas of need and interest within the organization.
The creation of an American art curator position reflects the San Antonio Museum of Art’s commitment to its already impressive collection of 1500 works of American art, among them paintings by John Singleton Copley, Marsden Hartley and Andrew Wyeth. Particular strengths of the collection include early American portraiture and history painting, Western Expansion landscapes and American photography. “The support of the Mellon Foundation of the San Antonio Museum of Art demonstrates that our museum has arrived on the national stage and validates the efforts and dedication of our founders and board of trustees,” said Katherine C. Luber, PhD, Kelso Director.
The new position is being generously endowed by Marie Halff in honor of her late husband and will be named the Hugh and Marie Halff Curator of American Art and Mellon Chief Curator. Together, the Halffs amassed a world-renowned collection of American Impressionist paintings that has been exhibited at many leading national museums, including the Smithsonian Museum of American Art and the McNay.
“Having a dedicated American curator will allow the museum to establish and maintain scholarly relationships with other museums. It will also help the museum research new exhibitions to bring to San Antonio and to actively pursue new acquisitions,“ said Marie Halff. “In short, it will make us a better museum.” A national search is underway to fill the position, which is expected to take six months.
The San Antonio Museum of Art is housed in the historic Lone Star Brewery on the Museum Reach of the San Antonio Riverwalk. The collection contains more than 25,000 works representing 5,000 years of history and cultures from around the world. The Museum currently employs four curators for its principal collections: Ancient Art of the Mediterranean, Asian, Contemporary and Latin American.