The Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York, has received $500,000 from activist and collector Agnes Gund to create a new initiative. The gift will endow the Dorothy Lichtenstein ArtsReach Fund, which will support programs designed to effect social change. Director Terrie Sultan made the announcement at the institution’s annual Midsummer Party on July 15.
Dorothy Lichtenstein, a long-term member of the Parrish’s board of trustees, which she joined nearly two decades ago, has donated an additional $100,000 in support of the fund. “I am honored and moved by this wonderful gift from a friend who has always motivated and inspired me,” said Lichtenstein. “I am particularly grateful that Agnes Gund has chosen to support an initiative that will enable the Parrish, a museum and program I have loved for many years, to have even greater impact on the injustices of our world. To that end, I’m making my own contribution to the fund, to encourage others to recognize this important initiative.”
According to the museum, the fund will allow it to engage in dialogue with local communities, collaborate on programming at the Parrish and beyond, and foster community by using art to challenge prevailing narratives. The overall strategy will be an integrated effort of all of its departments: curatorial, education, public programs, museum experiences, membership, and communications. “This gift is nothing short of transformational for the museum,” Sultan said. “It will allow us to take a thoroughly unified approach to all our efforts, and make the Parrish the truly comprehensive, collaborative, and inclusive center for cultural engagement that we wish it to be.”
Gund’s major gift comes on the heels of her decision to start the Art for Justice Fund to advance criminal justice reform in the United States, launched with the proceeds from the sale of her prized Roy Lichtenstein canvas, Masterpiece, 1962. In June, she announced that she hopes to raise $100 million more over the next five years. Gund is a president emerita of New York’s MoMA and chair of its international council. She is also chair of MoMA PS1, the founder and board chair of Studio in a School—a nonprofit organization she established in 1977 in response to budget cuts that almost eliminated arts classes from New York City public schools—and cofounder of the Center for Curatorial Leadership.