Ohio Wesleyan University’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum is one of 15 organizations in the nation selected to receive 2021 grants from the New York City-based Andrea Frank Foundation.
The Ross will receive $25,000 from the nonprofit foundation, which works to preserve the legacies of artist June Leaf and photographer Robert Frank, widely considered one of the most influential photographers in U.S. history. The foundation announced the grants on Nov. 9, on what would have been Frank’s 97th birthday. Frank, who died in 2019, is best known for the book “The Americans.”
“We are honored to have the Ross Art Museum recognized and supported by the Andrea Frank Foundation,” said Erin Fletcher, museum director. “This gift comes at a critical time when we are working to strengthen our staff and support future care and engagement of our photography collection.”
She said the Ross will use the new grant to support its strategic goal to promote the use and preservation of its collection. In addition to the foundation, Fletcher said, she is grateful to two Ohio Wesleyan graduates who championed the Ross in securing the funding.
Clark Winter, OWU Class of 1973, was a personal friend of Robert Frank, Fletcher said, and is a trustee of the Frank Foundation Board of Directors. Peter MacGill, OWU Class of 1974, helped to represent Frank’s photography at his New York City-based Pace/MacGill gallery, she said. Both alumni also have served on the Ross Art Museum’s National Board of Advisors.
“Both Clark and Peter learned about photography at Ohio Wesleyan, and it has gone on to influence their careers,” Fletcher said. “This is an incredible connection.”
The museum’s photography collection is significant, said Fletcher, noting that she hopes one day to add a Robert Frank image.
“The focus of the museum’s collection is works on paper, and two-thirds of its holdings are modern and contemporary photography,” Fletcher said. “Today it contains over 2,500 objects and features works by artists including Ansel Adams, Alfred Steiglitz, Edward Steichen, Dorothy Norman, Edward Weston, and Aaron Siskind.”
In addition to the Ross grant, the Frank Foundation today awarded a $1 million matching grant to the photography nonprofit and publisher Aperture to establish its first-ever endowment and funds to art museums including the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio.
When Ohio Wesleyan classes are in session, the Ross is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is handicap-accessible and admission is always free. Call (740) 368-3606 or visit www.owu.edu/ross for more information.
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