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U of M art museum receives $650K grant from Mellon Foundation

UMMA's director wants art to be a part of U of M students' everyday culture.
Jennifer Guerra
Michigan Radio
UMMA's director wants art to be a part of U of M students' everyday culture.

The University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) is $650,000 richer, thanks to a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Joseph Rosa, director of UMMA, calls the grant a "dream come true" because it allows the museum to shift from an "oh, if we could" mentality to one of "now we can."

The money will be used to fund exhibitions, to pay for training, and to come up with new ways to collaborate with faculty and students on campus, so that art becomes a part of the students’ everyday culture:

"When they leave here with their degree," says Rosa, "they’ll probably move to a new city, join a gym; they should join the museum. Art should be the backdrop to the new life they’re leading, and that takes place when you make art accessible in new ways."

Rosa plans to hire an academic coordinator to act as a liaison between the museum and campus; someone to look for those who are inventive in their own field, and see how they could apply that to art:

"How can someone, say a scientist, who is looking at new technologies...be able to look at our collection of, say, African Art, and see things we haven’t seen before in its repetitive patterning of the modular form. Things like that."

The $650,000 Mellon grant will be used over 40 months.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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