Frankenthaler Foundation Energy Project Is Giving Museums $10 Million


The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, named for the American abstract expressionist painter, announced on Wednesday that it had committed $10 million to the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative to help the nation’s visual arts institutions become more energy efficient.

“We wanted to help U.S. art institutions join the climate fray,” Fred Iseman, the president of the foundation, said in a statement. “There is a void to be filled, a crying need to provide technical know-how and financial support to art institutions to scope their needs, define problems and implement solutions.”

The first round of grants, which start at about $7,300 (the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, Calif.) and include a top award of $100,000, totals $5.1 million and includes 79 institutions in more than 25 states.

Fifteen of the institutions are in New York and are tentpole museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art ($50,000). Elsewhere, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston ($100,000), and smaller museums like the William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum in Rockland, Maine ($29,523), are also recipients.

The California Indian Museum and Cultural Center in Santa Rosa is using the funds to create a more resilient power system and cleaner air system that will transform it into a safe haven for at-risk residents during natural disasters like forest fires ($100,000), while the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico will use a $50,000 grant to help it create an earthquake-safe museum. The Guggenheim ($35,000), the Museum of Modern Art ($50,000) and the Davis Art Museum at Wellesley College in Massachusetts ($100,000) are using the grants to help them become carbon neutral.

An additional $4.9 million is set to be awarded over the next two years, with the next grant cycle expected to open in early 2022. A full list of grantees is available at frankenthalerclimateinitiative.org.

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