The Westmoreland Receives Funding from the Art Bridges Foundation’s Newly Launched Nationwide ‘Access for All’ Initiative to Reduce Barriers to Museum Visits

GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania (October 13, 2023) – The Westmoreland Museum of American Art is pleased to announce being selected as one of 64 museums nationwide by the Art Bridges Foundation, the national arts nonprofit founded by philanthropist Alice Walton, for the newly launched “Access for All” initiative. Providing $40 million in funding to institutions that span 36 states and Puerto Rico, the initiative aims to increase access to museums across the country and foster engagement with local communities by covering the costs of free admission days and expanded free hours as well as programming, outreach, and community partnerships that together, will eliminate many common barriers to access.

“Everyone, no matter where they live, deserves access to art. That’s why we started Art Bridges: to support museums in deepening their connections with local communities, and to pave the way for new audiences to experience the creativity and joy that comes with seeing art,” said Alice Walton, founder and board chair of Art Bridges. “Access for All is our biggest and most ambitious effort to date, dedicating $40 million toward bridging gaps between museums of all sizes and their communities in order to foster meaningful connections and expand arts access in every region, from Peoria to Puerto Rico.”

"This generous grant from the Art Bridges Foundation will mark the start of a new chapter for our Museum. With this grant, we will be able to expand our program offerings, opening doors to families, younger generations, and diverse audiences who seek inspiration and enrichment through art. Together with our local partners, artists, and vendors, we will co-create vibrant events that engage and strengthen our community, fostering a deeper connection with art among Westmoreland County residents and beyond," stated The Richard M. Scaife Director/CEO Silvia Filippini-Fantoni, PhD.

Access for All represents a sweeping effort to get people back to museums after COVID-19 brought declines in revenue, staffing and attendance. With many museums, including The Westmoreland,  seeing just 70 percent of their pre-pandemic attendance, the new initiative will aim to restore pre-pandemic levels – and open opportunities for all people to enjoy American art by reducing barriers to access and strengthening community relationships. 

Through this initiative, The Westmoreland will receive $280,000 in funding over three years to put towards programming and marketing efforts for community days, including an MLK Open House on Monday, January 15, 2024 and a Sunday Fun Day: I Heart Art on Sunday, February 4, 2024 along with ten other community day programs throughout 2024.   

"We are thrilled and honored to receive this support from Art Bridges that will allow the Museum to deepen its relationship with the community we serve through innovative partnerships and programs," commented Director of Learning, Engagement and Partnerships Erica Nuckles, PhD.

Since 2019, the Museum has additionally received over $284,000 in generous funding for its exhibition and public programming from the Art Bridges Foundation, as well as important artwork loans from the foundation’s renowned collection of American Art. Currently, the Museum has two loans on view from the foundation: Henry Koerner (1915-1991), The Pigeons, 1948-49, Oil on board, Art Bridges; and Barkley L. Hendricks (1945-2017), Father, Son, and . . ., 1989, Oil and acrylic on canvas, Art Bridges.

"We are deeply grateful for the continued support from Art Bridges over the past few years, which has played a pivotal role in offering new exhibitions and relevant programs and supported our marketing efforts, ultimately enabling our museum to fulfil its mission and reach new audiences," said Filippini-Fantoni.