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Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Awards $2.5 Million to Five Universities

Above: The Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Photo: Wikipedia.
Above: The Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Photo: Wikipedia.

NEW YORK—The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation has pledged $2.5 million to doctoral art history programs at five universities in the United States: the City University of New York, Harvard University, New York University, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago. Each of the universities will receive $500,000 in support of establishing an endowment for annual fellowships.

The announcement marks an expansion of the foundation’s Frankenthaler Scholarships program, a multiyear initiative that has already dedicated more than $4 million to advance the academic careers of art and art history students. The first Ph.D. fellowships will be awarded this year—recipients will be selected by the faculty at the associated institutions, and preference will be given to students specializing in the history of modern art.

“Helen was passionate about art education. Having benefited from her years at Bennington College, she maintained an active lecture schedule at universities and art schools across the US,” said Clifford Ross, chair of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation’s board of trustees. “We are very excited to be supporting these five outstanding doctoral programs in art history by endowing Frankenthaler Scholarships, as our gifts reflect Helen’s deep passion for the history of art.”

Institutions that benefitted from the foundation’s initial round of scholarships, which supported MFA painting programs, are Columbia University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of California Los Angeles, and Yale University, which recently announced that it was scraping its art history survey course following complaints that it prioritizes the Western canon. The inaugural cohort of fellows in the 2019–20 academic year comprised Nicole Doran (SAIC), Alexandra Heilbron (UCLA), Carly Sheehan (Yale), and Kiyomi Taylor (Columbia).

January 30, 2020