Figge Art Museum unveils 7 new acquisitions

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The Figge Art Museum has unveiled seven new acquisitions.

A newly created Art Diversity and Equity Fund intended to combat the systemic inequality in the art world also was announced and is being initially funded by a lead gift from Jim and Michelle Russell, a news release says.

According to a 2019 published research journal by the Public Library of Science, the diversity of artists in
major U.S. museums illustrates the urgent need to focus on collecting and preserving the works of artists from marginalized communities.

The study found that 85.4% of the works in the collections of all major U. S. museums were made by white artists, and 87.4% are by men. African American artists have the lowest share with just 1.2% of the works; Asian artists total at 9%; and Hispanic and Latino artists constitute only 2.8% of the artists.

New acquisitions by artists Kehinde Wiley, Edward Bannister,Elizabeth Catlett, and others that will make their debut in the Figge’s Quad City Bank & Trust Grand Lobby now through Thursday.

“In an effort to make the permanent collection at the Figge more representative of the community, 98% of our acquisition dollars from the past year were spent on works by artists from marginalized communities,” said Figge Executive Director and CEO Michelle Hargrave. “As part of this initiative, the Art Diversity and Equity Fund is exclusively dedicated to the acquisition and preservation of artworks for the Figge’s permanent collection that represent artists from under-served and marginalized groups.”

“The under-served and marginalized groups that this fund will impact are Black artists, artists of African, Native American, Hispanic, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Indigenous and Middle Eastern descent as well as works from women, LBGTQA+, and any other artists that are subsequently identified as marginalized, oppressed, or underrepresented in the museum’s permanent collection.”

Figge supporters Jim and Michelle Russell of Davenport contributed to launch the Figge’s Art Diversity and Equity Fund with a $20,000 donation. They encourage community members to consider contributing any amount to this fund so their contribution can be matched and ultimate exceeded dollar-for-dollar allowing the Figge to reach the goal of raising $100,000 this year.

“Jim and I feel strongly about this initiative in general, and feel it is important for our community to have a museum that focuses on representing all people, voices, and perspectives,” said Michelle Russell. “It is our hope that others will consider stepping forward in all ways to build an all-inclusive reality in our community, and specifically to donating to this important fund designed to help the Figge continue to promote inclusivity.”

“Battling inequality in art has been a focus for the Figge for over a decade. We are dedicated to
presenting exhibitions featuring a myriad of voices and diverse perspectives, providing opportunities for
dialogue around important societal issues, including racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia,” said
Hargrave. “Through these efforts, we have made some progress, including increasing the number of
female artists represented in our collection from 4% to 10% over the last several years, but we realize
that we have a long way to go. This fund supports our commitment to become a more diverse, equitable,
and inclusive museum.”

Thanks to the support of Cal and Jill Werner, admission to the museum during the month of July is free.

For more about the Figge, visit here.

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