Erie Art Museum to Benefit from Art Bridges Foundation Nationwide 'Access for All' Initiative to Reduce Barriers to Museum Visits
ERIE, Pa. - Art Bridges Foundation, the national arts nonprofit founded by philanthropist Alice Walton, announced today 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.
Museums participating in the Access for All initiative, including the Erie Art Museum, span 36 states and Puerto Rico. Among the 64 partners representing a broad range of locations are the Howard University Gallery of Arts (Washington, D.C.); Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (San Juan, PR); Plains Art Museum (Fargo, ND); Portland Museum of Art (Portland, ME); San Diego Museum of Art (San Diego, CA); Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY); Wichita Art Museum (Wichita, KS); and Yellowstone Art Museum (Billings, MT). The full list of participating museums can be found on the Art Bridges website.
Each museum will have the opportunity to use the funds to develop tailored programming specifically for their communities. Beginning January 1st, 2024, the Erie Art Museum will feature free admission the first Thursday of each month from 11 am - 3 pm and on the 3rd Saturday from 10 am - 2 pm. These sessions will also feature docents who will be available to answer questions and give tours, make & take art activities, and other interactive programming.
"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."
"For regional art museums like ours, this initiative amplifies the importance of creativity in our lives. It expands the cultural conversations within our community and who can participate in them." said Laura Domencic executive director of the Erie Art Museum.
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.
About the Erie Art Museum
Located in Erie, Pennsylvania, the Erie Art Museum holds the region's leading art collection with more than 8,000 objects spanning American ceramics, paintings, sculpture, and photography. The museum regularly hosts special exhibits bringing art and inspiration to the community. It also hosts lectures, educational programs and provides artists' services including interdisciplinary and interactive school tours.
The Erie Art Museum is open every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 11-6 pm, Saturday, 10 am-5 pm, and Sunday from 1-6 pm. The museum routinely posts updates on activities on social media - Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
For more info on upcoming programs, visit erieartmuseum.org or call 814-459-5477.