Athens, Ga. – National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Chairman Bruce Cole recently announced a $750,000 challenge grant awarded to the Georgia Museum of Art (GMOA) to construct its new Study Centers in the Humanities. The GMOA, which is both an academic unit of the University of Georgia and the official art museum of the state of Georgia, raised $2.5 million in matching funds from private contributions.
“The Georgia Museum of Art is not only the state’s official museum of art, it is one of Georgia’s great treasures,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “We are honored that the National Endowment for the Humanities has recognized its value with this challenge grant. The University of Georgia is deeply indebted to the private donors who rose to the challenge with $2.5 million in gifts to establish these study centers and to expand the museum library.”
The $750,000 challenge grant will fund the construction and furnishings for GMOA Study Centers in the Humanities. These centers will provide expanded facilities for the museum’s fine arts library and three research centers: the Pierre Daura Center for the Study of European Art, the Jacob Burns Foundation Center, and the Henry D. Green Center for the Study of Decorative Arts. Plans also include a classroom, a small conference room and a gallery for the display of exhibitions and works of art related to the activities of the research centers. These centers will enhance the research of museum staff and amplify the museum’s capacity to attract and serve students, faculty and researchers.
“A university museum is not a disposable luxury; it’s a vital educational tool, as important for learning about the humanities as a laboratory is for the sciences,” said Cole. “Through its exemplary Study Centers in the Humanities, the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia is providing an immeasurable educational service to its students, scholars, and patrons not only regionally, but nationwide as well.”
The centers are a major component of the museum’s $20 million phase II museum and library expansion project at GMOA aimed at encouraging the growth of the museum’s collection and enhancing access to the museum’s galleries and research materials. Currently, the permanent collection, which is considered among the best in the southern United States, consists of American paintings, primarily nineteenth and twentieth century; American, European, and Asian works on paper; the Samuel H. Kress Study Collection of Italian Renaissance paintings; and growing collections of southern decorative arts, European paintings, and Asian art. GMOA houses more than 10,000 objects and serves an audience of 100,000 patrons annually, including university students and faculty.
“The challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities was instrumental in helping us realize our fundraising goal for phase II of the Georgia Museum of Art. Most important, it allows us to further scholarship in the visual arts and, thus, expand knowledge in the humanities,” said William U. Eiland, GMOA director.
NEH challenge grants strengthen the humanities by encouraging non-federal sources of support. Challenge grant recipients are required to match NEH funds on a three-to-one or four-to-one basis, helping institutions and organizations secure long-term support for, and improvements in, their humanities programs and resources. The GMOA, asked to raise $2,250,000 in matching funds in the grant requirements, has raised an additional $250,000 for a total of $2,500,000 in non-federal funds.
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge, and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies, museum exhibitions and programs in libraries and other community places. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at http://www.neh.gov/index.html.