Lunder Institute for American Art receives generous gift from Ossorio Foundation to fund creative production

July 11, 2019

WATERVILLE, Maine, July 11 – Artists affiliated with the Lunder Institute for American Art at the Colby College Museum of Art will have access to new resources, thanks to a visionary gift from the Ossorio Foundation. The gift will create an endowed fund to support the distribution of Alfonso Ossorio Creative Production Grants. These grants will fund intellectual pursuits, research, and development costs associated with creating new artworks by individuals associated with the Colby Museum and the Lunder Institute for American Art. The Alfonso Ossorio Creative Production Grants will be awarded based on the merit of projects proposed, unencumbered by creative or material restrictions.

“Supporting living artists is such a critical component of our work at the Lunder Institute, and we could not be prouder to partner with the Ossorio Foundation,” said Director of the Lunder Institute Lee Glazer. “This gift will carry on the legacy of Alfonso Ossorio by supporting future generations of artists working to challenge and expand our understanding of American art.”

Alfonso Ossorio, born in the Philippines in 1916, would go on to become an artist whose paintings, murals, and assemblages are internationally renowned. He came to the United States in the early 1930s to study at Harvard and the Rhode Island School of Design, and he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1939, working as a medical illustrator during World War II. Ossorio had influential friendships with peers such as abstract expressionist painters Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner and the French artist and culture critic Jean Dubuffet. When he died in 1990, Ossorio left behind an East Hampton estate where he had developed a sculpture garden of his work and an arboretum that the American Conifer Society dubbed the “eighth wonder of the horticultural world.”

“Alfonso liked to say, ‘Let art pay for art,’ so this grant could not be more appropriate and fitting to his collegial spirit as an artist and collector. We look forward to watching today’s artists create work that may never have existed without this important support,” said Nicole A. Vanasse, president of the board of directors, Ossorio Foundation.

The gift from the Ossorio Foundation is a contribution to Colby’s groundbreaking Dare Northward campaign. Dare Northward is creating an even more dynamic and inclusive intellectual culture in which the most talented students from every background can not only attend, but have full access to, all of Colby’s resources—innovative academic programs, leading facilities, guaranteed internships, research, and global experiences—and the inspiration to find their passion and purpose in life while transforming their professions and communities.

“We are enormously grateful to the Ossorio Foundation for their vision and generosity in supporting creative production and advancement of the arts at Colby,” said Sharon Corwin, the Carolyn Muzzy Director and chief curator of the Colby Museum.

About the Ossorio Foundation

The Ossorio Foundation was established after the death of Alfonso Ossorio in 1990 to preserve the artist’s work and legacy. Ossorio’s heir and life partner, Edward F. Dragon, first established the foundation as a space where scholars, collectors, and other visitors could come to experience and study the depth of Ossorio’s lifetime of work. Since then, the foundation has also worked to maintain Ossorio’s historic records, which are managed at Harvard, and to broaden national awareness of Ossorio’s work by loaning, selling, and gifting work to museums and other public institutions. Committed to supporting and advancing artistic as well as scholarly work, the Ossorio Foundation has provided more than $250,000 to date for creative development grants to artists.

About the Lunder Institute for American Art

The Lunder Institute for American Art supports innovative research and creative production that expands the boundaries of American art. A collaborative initiative with the world-renowned Colby College Museum of Art located in central Maine, the Lunder Institute invites visiting artists, scholars, and fellows to engage across disciplines with Colby faculty and students, the College’s network of institutional partners, leading experts, and other creative collaborators. Through incubator grants, fellowships, and symposia addressing regional and global concerns, the Lunder Institute amplifies marginalized voices, challenges convention, and provides a platform for generative dialogue through art and scholarship.

About the Colby College Museum of Art

Founded in 1959, the Colby College Museum of Art is a teaching museum, destination for American art, and a place for engagement with local and global communities. Located on the Colby College campus in Waterville, Maine, the Museum holds more than 10,000 works of art and offers more than 38,000 square feet of exhibition space. Major works by American artists, including Albert Bierstadt, Winslow Homer, James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, and William Merritt Chase, form the core of the historical collection, along with significant holdings of American folk art. The modern movement is represented by artists including John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jacob Lawrence, Joan Mitchell, Isamu Noguchi, and Alma Thomas. The Museum also maintains a significant collection of contemporary American art, including works by Alex Katz, Richard Serra, Agnes Martin, Sol LeWitt, Maya Lin, Kara Walker, Elizabeth Murray, Martin Puryear, Terry Winters, and Julie Mehretu. Other principal areas of the collection include Greek and Roman antiquities, European prints and drawings, and early Chinese art. The recent donation of more than 1,500 artworks from Paula and Peter Lunder expands that scope, and the creation of the Lunder Institute for American Art enhances the Museum’s engagement with scholarly and creative production.

Media inquiries may be directed to Jaime McLeod, Communications Manager at the Colby College Museum of Art: jaime.mcleod@colby.edu, 207-859-5629