Zimmerli Art Museum Receives Major Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

January 5, 2012

New Brunswick, NJ – The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers today announces a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for an innovative program by which the museum will stimulate more interdisciplinary engagement on its campus, home to one of the nation’s largest public research universities.

Conceived by the Zimmerli as a collaboration with the Department of Art History at Rutgers, the five and a half year initiative is designed to capitalize on the strengths of each to enhance curatorial studies and encourage a new generation of students to seek careers in the art museum field. The grant will also support the creation of a comprehensive plan for the ongoing scholarship on the museum’s permanent collection.

“This grant award builds on the previous generosity of the Mellon Foundation, which for more than a decade and a half has recognized the importance of the Zimmerli’s collections and programs and its potential as a resource for the intellectual and academic life of the entire university community,” says Richard L. McCormick, President, Rutgers. “We are very grateful to the Mellon Foundation for this generous, and continued, support.”

“Thanks to the Mellon Foundation, the Zimmerli is in a position to shape the lives of graduate students on the threshold of their professional lives,” notes Suzanne Delehanty, director of the Zimmerli. “We want to seize the opportunity to encourage young museum professionals to explore an interdisciplinary approach to exhibitions. We are striving to transform this museum into a test-bed for inquiry.”

Two graduate-level exhibition seminars, developed jointly by the museum and the art history department; publications related to these seminars documenting new scholarship; a pair of scholarly symposia; ten paid summer internships benefiting graduate students; and partial support for the position of the Mellon Liaison for Academic Programs and Curator: these are among the academic programs this timely grant makes possible.

For the museum, this collaboration builds on recent efforts to draw on its collection in creative new ways to encourage the participation of Rutgers students and faculty from the arts and sciences in its exhibitions and programs serving the broader community. Most notably, in the fall of 2010, the museum mounted an exhibition entitled Water to explore this element of nature as a powerful force, symbol of purity, allegory, and spectacle. Featuring a wide array of works from the collection representing many different periods, geographic regions, and media, the presentation enlivened the academic community through campus-wide discussions, public performances, and multi-media produced in collaboration with various academic departments including the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy; Mason Gross School of Art; Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literature; Center for African Studies; and the Rutgers’ Program in History of Science, Technology, Environment and Health. “I am excited to be working with colleagues in the Department of Art History on researching and developing new exhibitions and programs from the Zimmerli’s collection,” says Donna Gustafson, Andrew W. Mellon Liaison for Academic Programs and Curator. “I look forward to using a wide range of works from the collection as a resource for teaching.”

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation currently makes grants in five core program areas:  Higher education and scholarship; scholarly communications and information technology; art history, conservation, and museums; performing arts; and conservation and the environment.

Within each of its core programs, the Foundation concentrates most of its grantmaking in a few areas. Institutions and programs receiving support are often leaders in fields of Foundation activity, but they may also be promising newcomers, or in a position to demonstrate new ways of overcoming obstacles to achieve program goals.

Mellon’s grantmaking philosophy is to build, strengthen, and sustain institutions and their core capacities, rather than be a source for narrowly defined projects. As such, 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.

Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers

The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, founded in 1966, is one of the largest university art museums in United States. The Zimmerli’s permanent collection comprises more than 60,000 works, ranging from ancient to contemporary art and featuring particularly rich holdings in the areas of French art of the nineteenth century with great strengths in prints and rare books, Russian and Soviet Nonconformist Art, and American art, including prints, drawings, and  photographs.

The Zimmerli is midway between New York City and Philadelphia and a short walk from the New Jersey Transit station in New Brunswick.

Location and Hours

The Zimmerli Art Museum is located at 71 Hamilton Street at the corner of George Street on the College Avenue campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 4:30 pm, and Saturday-Sunday, noon to 5 pm; first Wednesdays of each month September through July, 10 am to 9 pm. Admission is $6 for adults; $5 for adults over 65, and free for museum members, Rutgers students, faculty and staff (with ID), and children under 18. Admission is free on the first Sunday of every month. For more information, call 732.932.7237, ext. 610 or visit the museum’s website: www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu

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