As monuments around the world continue to be the subjects of protests focused on systemic racism and police brutality, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has dedicated $250 million to its new “Monuments Project,” which over the course of five years will fund the creation of new monuments, memorials, and other installations in the United States. The initiative will also support research, educational programs, and relocation efforts related to existing American monuments.
According to a release, the “Monuments Project” aims to “transform the way our country’s histories are told in public spaces” and “recalibrate the assumed center of our national narratives to include those who have often been denied historical recognition.” The foundation will allocate money to the production of statues and memorials as well as art installations in public spaces and museums.[Read a guide to monuments that were toppled by protesters around the world this year.]
The first major dispersement from the “Monuments Project” will be a $4 million grant to the public art organization Monument Lab in Philadelphia. Monument Lab works with artists and activists in cities around the country on public projects and installations centering social justice.
“By providing key support to visionary artists and cultural organizations that seek to reimagine how fundamental stories and experiences may be publicly commemorated in new monuments and memorials, this unprecedented Mellon commitment will help inform our collective understanding of our country’s profoundly diverse and weighty history and ensure that those who haven’t been taught this history can learn it in the public square,” Mellon Foundation president Elizabeth Alexander said in a statement, adding, “This effort will further ensure that the many communities that have shaped the United States have greater opportunity to see themselves in the fabric of our remarkable American story.”