Zimmerli to Receive $45,000 Grant from NEA

August 7, 2019


Zimmerli Art Museum to Receive $45,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts


New Brunswick, NJ – National Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the Arts Endowment’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019.  Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $45,000 to the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University for the exhibition Angela DavisSeize the Time, debuting at the institution in September of 2020. Art Works is the Arts Endowment’s principal grantmaking program. The agency received 1,592 Art Works applications for this round of grantmaking, and will award 977 grants in this category.


“These awards, reaching every corner of the United States, are a testament to the artistic richness and diversity in our country,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Organizations such as the Zimmerli Art Museum are giving people in their community the opportunity to learn, create, and be inspired.”


“Angela Davis was a rare, incandescent lightning rod during the turbulent years of the late sixties and seventies,” said Thomas Sokolowski, Director of the Zimmerli Art Museum. “She became an avatar for social and political protest in America and later, internationally. Her keen intelligence enabled her to become the leading essayist for the Black Radical Resistance Movement and this, coupled with her striking appearance, made her the poster child for said movement. This exhibition and accompanying publication mark the 50th anniversary of her false conviction and imprisonment. One cannot imagine the Black Lives Matter phenomenon without her life and work as its textbook. We are gratified for the support of the National Endowment for Arts for this important historical project.”


Angela DavisSeize the Time examines the significance of the activist’s image and writings as it documents the compelling and layered narrative of her journey through the junctures of race and gender, economic and political policy. Davis came to international attention in 1970, when she was falsely accused of involvement in a deadly shooting and placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. After spending several months as a fugitive, she was arrested in New York City and her image became a tool in an unprecedented international effort to free an incarcerated black woman. Acquitted in 1972, after serving 16 months in prison because she was denied the opportunity to post bail, Davis became a lightning rod for fears and hopes – on the right and the left – about revolutionary change and has remained an active agent of change in the years since.


The exhibition is inspired by a private archive in Oakland, California, which has been compiled and curated by Lisbet Tellefsen. The archive itself is at the center of the exhibition, inviting viewers to re-imagine the construction of the image of Davis as an icon of American oppression, symbol of Black radical resistance, female empowerment, and a threat to the white patriarchal status quo. The collection includes materials produced in a campaign to “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners,” as well as the media that surrounded the campaign and trial: magazines, press photography, court sketches, videos, music, writings, and correspondence. The exhibition also documents her philosophical and activist writings related to freedom, oppression, feminisms, and prison abolition. In addition to the archive and popular culture references, a selection of contemporary art asserts Davis’s significance in a broader narrative that continues into the present.


The exhibition is co-curated by Donna Gustafson, the Zimmerli’s Curator of American Art and Mellon Director for Academic Programs, and Gerry Beegan, Interim Dean and Chair of the Department of Art and Design at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, with the assistance of an advisory group of intersectional scholars, artists, activists, and archivists, including Nicole Fleetwood, Daonne Huff, Ericka Huggins, Steffani Jemison, and Lisbet Tellefsen.


For more information on this National Endowment for the Arts grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.



The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum houses more than 60,000 works of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary art. The permanent collection features particularly rich holdings in 19th-century French art; Russian art from icons to the avant-garde; Soviet nonconformist art from the Dodge Collection; and American art with notable holdings of prints. In addition, small groups of antiquities, old master paintings, as well as art inspired by Japan and original illustrations for children’s books, provide representative examples of the museum’s research and teaching message at Rutgers. One of the largest and most distinguished university-based art museums in the nation, the Zimmerli is located on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Established in 1766, Rutgers is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and a premier public research university.



Admission is free to the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers. The museum is located at 71 Hamilton Street (at George Street) on the College Avenue Campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The Zimmerli is a short walk from the NJ Transit train station in New Brunswick, midway between New York City and Philadelphia.


The Zimmerli Art Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and select first Tuesdays of the month, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays, as well as the month of August.


PaparazZi Café is open Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a variety of breakfast, lunch, and snack items. The café is closed weekends and major holidays, as well as the month of August.


For more information, visit the museum’s website www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu or call 848.932.7237.



The Zimmerli’s operations, exhibitions, and programs are funded in part by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and income from the Avenir Foundation Endowment and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment, among others. Additional support comes from the New Jersey State Council of the Arts, as well as donors, members, and friends of the museum.


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