Leopold Museum guard apprehends Letzte Generation activists who splattered black liquid on and glued themselves to Klimt's "Death and Life" (1915). (photo courtesy Letzte Generation)

In the wake of last year’s trend of climate emergency demonstrations targeting art museums internationally, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation has announced its third cycle of the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative (FCI), $10 million worth of grants to stimulate clean energy projects across cultural institutions in the United States. Visual arts museums and art schools are encouraged to pursue funding opportunities from FCI to do their part in building and maintaining a sustainable future for arts and culture.

Eligible institutions are invited to evaluate their financial needs for clean energy projects within three tracks: scoping grants, technical assistance grants, and implementation grants. Scoping grants, ranging between $10k and $25k, are for understanding which energy and sustainability deficits are impacting the premises and recognizing the available paths for mitigating them. Technical assistance grants between $25k and $50k are for helping institutions outline the specificity and budgetary requirements of an established efficiency project for further financing. Implementation grants between $50k and $100k cover the starter costs of a fully realized efficiency project plan.

In partnership with clean energy nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), which promotes “natural capitalism,” and Environment and Culture Partners, which helps the cultural sector address environmental issues, FCI has awarded a combined $8.1 million in grants and emergency funding to 128 institutions through the last two iterations.

“The wide scope of the FCI grants accounts for and supports each of the multiple stages essential to achieving sustainability,” RMI’s CEO Jon Creyts noted. “From assessments to analysis to implementation, these art organizations are not only making their own facilities greener and more energy efficient, they are also establishing a blueprint for climate action that similar institutions can follow.”

Speed Art Museum, Phipps Conservatory, Tacoma Art Museum, the New Museum, the Visual and Performing Arts Center at Bennington College, and the Morgan Library and Museum in New York were among 48 grantees across 19 states in the 2022 award cycle. A spokesperson for the Morgan Library and Museum told Hyperallergic that the institution received an implementation grant in 2021 and 2022 to replace its cooling towers.

“The previous cooling towers were near or at the end of their useful life and operated with decreased overall system efficiency,” the spokesperson said. “These towers have been replaced with new towers, which enable the Morgan to maintain proper environmental conditions for the display and storage of the Morgan’s irreplaceable art, and to operate more efficiently, effectively reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 32 tons CO2e annually.”

FCI asks grantees to report their emissions and energy use data in a 12-month baseline report prior to the award, a 12-month report post-project, and a 24-month report post-project. FCI is accepting proposals from February 20 through March 31. Interested institutions should attend the informational webinar on March 1, from 2pm to 3pm EST.

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Rhea Nayyar

Rhea Nayyar (she/her) is a New York-based teaching artist who is passionate about elevating minority perspectives within the academic and editorial spheres of the art world. Rhea received her BFA in Visual...

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