Art museum

St. Louis Museum of Contemporary Art receives new US bailout grant

As museums emerge from the shadows of the pandemic, money from a federal agency seeks to help institutions become places of healing. The Musée d’art contemporain de Saint-Louis (CAM) received a grant of $ 36,524 from the American Rescue Plan from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

“We’re over the moon about this,” says Executive Director Lisa Melandri. “This grant was really meant to reflect on the kind of stress caused by Covid-19, not only for the museum but for the communities the museum serves.”

This corresponds to CAM’s mission. The money will be used to support three interconnected projects that engage in community outreach, enhance the visitor experience, and foster collaboration and inclusiveness.

The funding will support Collective Impact, the museum’s multi-year project with Creative Reaction Lab, a non-profit organization that works to mobilize black and Latin youth to become leaders. Using the grant, CAM will strive to include other organizations in its community.

“It will be the CAM that will work with the Boys and Girls clubs and other neighborhood partners,” explains Melandri. “There will be art projects at the end, but they will be conceived and designed by the young people involved and can take the form of community-wide posters or public works of art that engage you. “

The grant will also allow the museum to join the Collaboration for Ongoing Visitor Experience Studies, a nationwide consortium of museums that wants to improve the guest experience by providing audience data on what people look for when they visit. museums. “What can you do to change the way you greet your visitor and what questions can you ask them as they walk through your front door to make it a more accessible or inclusive experience? Melandri asks.

The third component will provide funds for all museum staff to complete trauma awareness training. “It’s about making sure we have as much awareness as possible and being able to make the visitor experience as comfortable, safe and inclusive as possible,” says Melandri, who notes the need for this type of approach has always existed. “But I think it’s certainly true that we’ve had a dueling pandemic. We’ve had the systemic racism pandemic alongside the health pandemic, and all of these things made it clear that being able to think about the neighborhoods we live in has always been essential for us. “

The IMLS, the primary source of federal support for libraries and museums, has awarded more than $ 15 million in grants to 390 institutions across the country to meet needs exacerbated by the pandemic. In addition to CAM, three other groups in Missouri received funding. They include $ 49,828 to curators at the University of Missouri-Columbia (School of Information Science and Learning Technologies), $ 49,213 to the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, and $ 23,452 to Missouri. Historical Society in St. Louis.

Founded in 1980, CAM has a budget of $ 2.8 million and generally welcomes 40,000 visitors per year. Although the number has dropped due to pandemic protocols, it is reaching around 40-50% of its capacity. The museum is free and open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hourly tickets are encouraged and masks are required.