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High Stakes Art


The Institute for the Humanities is pleased to be the recipient of a four-year, $1.14 million grant from the Mellon Foundation to support High Stakes Art. The grant is intended to enhance exhibitions and programming related to the Institute for the Humanities Gallery.

Over the last eight years the Institute for the Humanities Gallery has focused on engaging with the campus and community, and on prioritizing art that addresses social inequality and injustice. According to Peggy McCracken, Director, "With High Stakes Art, we aim to make critical engagements with contemporary art urgent for humanities scholars and publics in southeast Michigan, particularly around social issues of concern."

Funding for High Stakes Art will allow for an expansion of programming, providing resources for an enhanced exhibition schedule and stronger, more sustained outreach efforts to promote serious engagement with the arts as a form of research on and knowledge about contemporary cultural controversies and concerns. Specifically, grant funding will support extending the reach of exhibitions, a Detroit artist's residency, the creation of targeted outreach projects and a collaboration and outreach manager staff position. New exhibitions will include a public project by an internationally recognized artist, a group exhibition in the summer, a series of pop-up exhibitions by local and regional artists, and workshops for faculty, librarians, and graduate students to help scholars translate their work into potential exhibition format, widening its impact and accessibility in a visual world.

"We plan an ambitious schedule of activities designed to draw humanities faculty and students into the gallery and to structure interactions with art objects as sources of meaning-making and with exhibitions as sites of social and political engagement," McCracken states. "We also plan to look outward and put in place an array of collaborations connecting our gallery to communities outside the university."  

The grant is intended to assist the gallery in realizing its full potential to be a vibrant hub for investigation, conversation and even controversy at the University of Michigan. The first eight months of the grant are for planning with funded programming and exhibitions beginning in September 2020.