People 16-11-2017

Agnes Gund’s Art for Justice Fund distributes first round of grants

Following the establishment earlier this year of the Art for Justice Fund — launched by art collector and patron Agnes Gund after the $165 million sale of her prized painting Masterpiece by Roy Lichtenstein (1962) — the organization, dedicated to supporting criminal justice reform in the US, has announced that it has awarded its first round of grants.

The fund will provide $22 million in grant commitments to 30 initiatives, falling into one of the following categories: Prosecution and Bail Reform; Sentencing Reform; Access to Education and Employment; Enabling Artists to Bear Witness; and Arts Diversion and Prison Programs.

The arts organizations that will benefit from the fund’s support are: Mural Arts Philadelphia, providing therapeutic training for prisoners released on probation, California Lawyers for the Arts, offering arts services to incarcerated persons at all levels, Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network, which provides art education programs to incarcerated youth, Art 180, which will use funds to finance its Youth Self-Advocacy Through Art program and Rehabilitation Through the Arts, which offers multi-disciplinary arts activities to men and women in the New York State prison system. All initiatives that tackle the often difficult reinsertion of former prisoners within society, and they are focused on the unfair treatment of people of color.


Portrait of Agnes Gund. © Annie Leibovitz. Courtesy of the Art for Justice Fund


Managed by the Ford Foundation in partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropic Advisors — which will cover operating expenses —  “100 percent of Art for Justice’s contributed funds will go directly to grants and program-related contracts”. The money will be distributed over the next five years in three yearly installments, and while proposals were made uniquely via invitation for this first round of grants, applications might open to all relevant initiatives within the criminal justice system in the future.


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