Andrew W Mellon Foundation Pledges $125 Million to Incarceration-Related Art Projects

Imagining Freedom is a new initiative from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation that is granting $125 million to art and humanities organizations that focus on mass incarceration. The foundation has already donated $40 million to these projects, including the book and exhibition Marking Time, which debuted at NYC’s MoMA PS1. Written and curated by Nicole Fleetwood, that project showcased visual art made by people currently or formerly incarcerated, reflecting on how the mediums were crucial to reclaiming a sense of time and self for those behind bars. “I got really curious about the visual culture and art-making worlds of people in prison—and how art-making and creativity could be ways of envisioning freedom, envisioning the future or staying connected with loved ones and building community inside prison,” says Fleetwood. The foundation’s additional funding will help strengthen future efforts like Marking Time that seek to humanize perceptions of people who have been incarcerated, create a network of resources for them and imagine a world of collective liberation. Learn more at NPR.

Image by Matthew Septimus; courtesy of MoMA PS1