Akron Art Museum Receives Grant from   Art Bridges Foundation’s ‘Access for All’ Initiative 

Akron, OH – Art Bridges Foundation, the national arts nonprofit founded by philanthropist Alice Walton, recently announced the launch of “Access for All,” providing $40 million in funding to 64 museums nationwide. 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. The Akron Art Museum was one of three Ohio museums awarded funding in this inaugural cycle. The Akron Art Museum will receive $400,000 over the next three years.

With the Akron Art Museum already offering free admission every Thursday, this grant funding will provide support for extending Thursday hours until 9 PM and providing enhanced programming on the 1st Thursday of every month. First Thursday programming will feature a breadth of multi-disciplinary offerings that will engage a diverse audience and support local artists and performers and include educator-led gallery tours. The grant will also provide marketing support. Access for All will kick off at the Akron Art Museum in December.

“We have long prioritized making the Museum accessible to the community through weekly free Thursdays and seasonal free family days,” said Jon Fiume, the John S. Knight Director and CEO of the Akron Art Museum. “We are grateful to Art Bridges’ generosity and support. It will allow the Museum to extend our offerings in an impactful way.”

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 seeing just 71 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.

“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.

Of the participating 64 museums, all current partners of Art Bridges, 80 percent have annual operating expenses under $10 million. The majority charge admission fees and will be able to provide new free admission opportunities through Access for All. Others will use the Access for All funds to sustain or extend current free admission policies. Museums participating in the Access for All initiative span 36 states and Puerto Rico. The full list of participating museums can be found on the Art Bridges website.

Press release here.

Photos courtesy of the Akron Art Museum.