PILSEN — The National Museum of Mexican Art has received a $3.5 million grant from the Ford Foundation as part of a broader effort to help culturally diverse institutions survive coronavirus.
Twenty arts and cultural organizations received grants ranging from $1 million to $6 million as part of the foundation’s America’s Cultural Treasures initiative. The funding for the National Museum of Mexican Art will be distributed over four years.
Many museums, including the National Museum of Mexican Art, were forced to close to the public because of coronavirus. The Ford Foundation raised $156 million to support arts and cultural organizations nationwide in response to the “existential threat” nonprofit and arts institutions across the country face because of the pandemic, foundation leaders said on their website.
“Arts and cultural organizations play an essential role in our communities, and without intensified support, many organizations will be forced to close for good,” the announcement reads. “This is especially true for arts organizations led by and serving communities of color.”
In a statement, Carlos Tortolero, founder and president of the Mexican art museum, said leaders are “thrilled” with the award, the largest in the museum’s history, according to the Tribune.
“Our thanks to the Ford Foundation for their recognition of the National Museum of Mexican Art as an anchor for artistic and cultural equity in Chicago and the U.S.,” Tortolero said. “The museum staff work tirelessly to bring forth the rich stories, past and present, giving voice to the Mexican community throughout the country and the world.”
Tortolero and a group of educators opened the doors to the the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum in 1987, according to the museum’s website.
The museum’s mission was to showcase “the beauty and richness of Mexican culture” through events and exhibitions featuring visual and perform arts.
In 2001, the museum moved into a 48,000-square-foot facility in Pilsen. It was later renamed the National Museum of Mexican Art. The museum is home to a 10,000-piece permanent collection.
The National Museum of Mexican Art is currently closed to the public, but it continues to host exhibits online. The current exhibit, Sólo un poco aquí: Day of the Dead, paying tribute to those who have died from COVID-19, is featured in live virtual tours through December.
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