Doors locked for months, diminished crowds once they reopened and the ongoing impact of coronavirus on fundraising across the East End this year have had a particularly painful impact on local museums, but a ray of light has shined on the Parrish Art Museum.
The beloved Water Mill institution has received a $50,000 grant from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation as part of its three-year COVID-19 Relief Effort, which was launched earlier this spring in response to the devastating and long-term impact of the pandemic. The Parrish was one of seven cultural institutions to be selected to receive a one-time relief payment of $50,000 to offset the financial strain endured as a result of the pandemic.
“We are deeply grateful to the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation for this generous relief grant. The funding provides vital support during this critical time,” said Chris Siefert, Interim Director, Parrish Art Museum, which reopened its doors on August 7 and is now offering online-only advance registration and tickets for visitors. “We were privileged to present a full exhibition of Frankenthaler’s work at the Museum last year, making this funding particularly meaningful to us.”
Established and endowed by Helen Frankenthaler during her lifetime, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation advances the artist’s legacy and inspires a new generation of practitioners through a range of philanthropic, educational and research initiatives. Since becoming active in 2013, the Foundation has continued to strategically expand its program, which includes organizing and supporting significant exhibitions of the artist’s work, fostering new research and publications, and advancing educational initiatives in partnership with arts organizations around the world. As a primary resource on the artist, and a steward of her collection and archive, the Foundation holds an extensive selection of Frankenthaler’s work in a variety of mediums, her collection of works by other artists, and original papers and materials pertaining to her life and work.
Frankenthaler (1928–2011) is recognized among the most important American abstract painters of the 20th century, widely credited for her pivotal role in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Color Field painting. Best known for her invention of the soak stain technique, Frankenthaler experimented tirelessly throughout her six-decade-long career, producing a large body of work with a profound impact on contemporary art and artist practices to this day.
“Support for cultural institutions is ever more critical in the face of current crises,” Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Executive Director Elizabeth Smith said. “The Foundation has a long history of supporting initiatives at the Parrish, and we felt this donation from our COVID-19 Relief Effort was essential to helping the museum persevere through the unprecedented financial impact of this epidemic.”