Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is backdrop to US humanities grants

National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Jon Parrish Peede announces $31 million in grants to museums, historical sites and colleges across the U.S., including Wyoming’s Buffalo Bill Center of the West, on Tuesday at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The National Endowment for the Humanities is seeking to inspire private and local matching investments in cultural institutions as it designated $31 million in public grants Tuesday to support humanities projects in 45 states.

Newly endowed grant projects include $750,000 in so-called challenge funding to add an exhibition building and create a downtown campus for the Santa Fe-based museum devoted to the life and works of American modernist painter Georgia O’Keeffe. Activating the grant will require new matching private and local government contributions of at least $3 million to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

Jon Peede, the National Endowment for the Humanities chairman, announced the new round of 188 humanities grants at a news conference in Santa Fe, flanked by O’Keeffe’s iconic painted images of flowers, an adobe church spire and a high-desert land and sky.

“Generous donors love to see their names on the amphitheaters and exhibition halls, and the government can be the one that puts in the HVAC system, the fire-suppression system — the essential but non-exciting elements,” Peede said.

About half of the new grant spending tally is earmarked for construction projects that expand the capacity of museums, historic sites, libraries, colleges and universities. Recipients run the gamut from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, to the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center.

Beyond infrastructure, the grants support new technologies in the humanities, including plans for an augmented reality app that recreates the features of a 13th century city, commemorated today at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Illinois.

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