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UAM Awarded $147,783 Museums for America Grant

Published: August 17, 2009

The University Art Museum (UAM) at CSULB has been awarded a $147,783 Museums for America (MFA) grant to help create four education and outreach programs titled “Art Education and Technology” for the museum’s new “smart” design.

Offered each year by The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to advance the strategic goals of museums across the country, the MFA grant will help the UAM develop its new media education programs. The UAM’s “smart” design is scheduled to be completed in seven years.

The UAM will match the MFA grant with $148,075 for the programs.

“The IMLS funds will enable the UAM to offer an amazing education program for our students here at CSULB and for K-12 students and educators from Long Beach and the region,” said Ilee Kaplan, associate director of the UAM. “The museum showcases artists whose work blurs the boundaries between visual arts, science, technology, music and popular culture. And our education programs are designed to support these types of projects with interpretive activities for all ages.”

Kaplan added that the museum is also exploring opportunities to integrate technology into visitor services, which is a direct link to the future “smart” UAM.

CSULB, and the other grant-receiving institutions were chosen by the IMLS from 433 applicants across the country. The UAM’s grant is part of more than $19 million in MFA grants awarded this year intended to support and advance the strategic goals of the museums by helping them serve the public more effectively.

Awarded in three categories—engaging communities, building institutional capacity and collections stewardship—MFA grants fund projects such as exhibitions, training, research, planning, technological upgrades, the purchase of equipment and educational programming. The UAM was chosen in the “engaging communities” category.

According to UAM’s Curator of Education Brian Trimble, by engaging the community, participants in the new programs will learn about animation from professional artists, film and computer game design at afternoon conferences and create their own videos that explore the connections between the arts and environmental challenges.

He added that students will also tour UAM exhibitions, attend a campus-based international conference on narrative design and learn about contemporary art through hearing presentations delivered by high school and university students.

“Our Art Education and Technology programs will reach out to students from the fifth-grade level through post-baccalaureate status by providing meaningful experiences that enhance understanding of contemporary visual arts,” said Trimble.

The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Its mission is to “create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.”

“By making it their mission to provide the public with top-notch programming and knowledgeable staff, the 2009 MFA grantees have demonstrated that they know what is important to their communities,” said Anne-Imelda Radice, director of IMLS.

Referencing IMLS’s report, InterConnections, Radice added, “In 2006, 156 million U.S. adults visited museums 1.2 billion times, in person and remotely. These numbers prove that museums, like this year’s MFA recipients, are vital institutions that play a significant role in people’s lives.”