MFA Boston Receives Grant of Nearly $2 Million from Terra Foundation for American Art as Part of New Collection-Sharing Initiative

Terra-Art Bridges Program Partners MFA with Four Museums in the Northeast to Co-Create Traveling Exhibitions

BOSTON (April 5, 2018)—The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), will share works from its Art of the Americas collection with four partner museums across the Northeast through the new Terra-Art Bridges program, made possible by a grant of nearly $2 million awarded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Curators from the MFA will collaborate with colleagues from the Fenimore Art Museum (Cooperstown, N.Y.), Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts (Springfield, Mass.), Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute (Utica, N.Y.) and the Mattatuck Museum (Waterbury, Conn.) to co-organize a series of traveling exhibitions over the next six years, drawing on the combined breadth and depth of the museums’ holdings and encouraging engagement with American art within different communities. The project will launch later in 2018, with each of the four partners displaying an artwork on loan from the MFA’s collection. The MFA and the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) are the first museums to receive Terra-Art Bridges grants as part of this $15 million initiative to examine and test new approaches to sharing collections, increasing scholarship, and expanding access to and experiences of American art.

“It is important that the MFA shares its resources generously as we work to make our communities stronger. We are immensely proud to participate in Terra-Art Bridges and grateful for this opportunity to introduce audiences in New England and New York State to artworks from our collection,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director. “We look forward to fostering a productive and creative exchange with our colleagues at four great partner institutions and collaborating with them on new ways of presenting and looking at American art.”

Launched in 2017 by the Terra Foundation with financial support from Art Bridges, Inc., Terra-Art Bridges is a six-year initiative that will establish collaborations among a wide range of institutional partners across the U.S., creating a network that is expected to generate exhibitions at more than 80 museums and arts venues throughout the country and serve a spectrum of audience interests and needs.

“We are excited to be working with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to launch our new initiative for sharing, co-organizing and presenting exhibitions of American art,” said Elizabeth Glassman, President & CEO of the Terra Foundation for American Art. “The project funded as part of Terra-Art Bridges will address museums’ crucial needs in audience engagement by supporting research and experimentation in collections sharing, exhibition development and staff professional development. We look forward to seeing the innovative projects from our partners in Boston and across the country.”

In addition to their locations in non-metropolitan areas of the Northeast, the MFA’s four partner museums were chosen for their collection strengths: the Fenimore has depth in Native American objects and folk art; the Munson-Williams-Proctor in 19th and 20th-century American painting and decorative arts; the D’Amour in works on paper; and the Mattatuck in 20th-century design and ephemera.

In the first phase of the project, the MFA will loan a painting to each of the four partner institutions. The monumental scene of the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden (1828) by Thomas Cole (1801–1848) will be the centerpiece of an exhibition at the Fenimore, on view from May 25, 2018 through September 30, 2018, that will bring together 16 original works from Cole’s early career and include members of his circle, Asher B. Durand and Thomas Doughty. Icebergs (1863) by Cole’s student Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900) is a small painting that masterfully captures a grand subject: the vivid reflections of sunlight off the surface of an iceberg. It will be on display at the Mattatuck from June 24, 2018 through September 2, 2018, alongside other works inspired by the Connecticut native’s travels to the Arctic. New England Editor (1946) by Thomas Hart Benton (1889–1975) is a portrait of the artist’s friend George A. Hough, who is depicted writing the word “unless”—a reference to the editor’s legendary approach to journalism that unless the reporter had exhausted all possible sources, the story was not ready to hand in. The painting will be the centerpiece of an exhibition at the D’Amour, on view from June 19, 2018 through December 30, 2018, exploring Benton’s expressive narrative style and larger interest in capturing contemporary American life. A loan for Munson-Williams-Proctor will be selected at a later date. Curators from all five museums will also meet throughout 2018, working together on ideas for forthcoming exhibitions.

“We’re thrilled to share our American collection with these great partners,” said Elliot Bostwick Davis, John Moors Cabot Chair, Art of the Americas. “As always, we learn more about works of art when they appear in different settings for the benefit of new audiences. We’re grateful to the Terra Foundation and Art Bridges for their support of this exciting new initiative.”

The second phase of the project will entail the creation of several small-scale exhibitions, featuring objects drawn from the MFA’s collection that will be developed with and displayed at each of the partner institutions. The third and final phase of the project will culminate in two larger-scale exhibitions drawing from the collections of all participating museums. Throughout this process, curators will pay special attention to how exhibition content, organization and installation should change between venues to ensure relevance for different audiences.

About Art Bridges, Inc.

Art Bridges, Inc., is a 501c3 focused on sharing outstanding works of American art with audiences who have limited access to our country’s rich artistic heritage. Collaborating with museums and institutions of all sizes and in all parts of the country, Art Bridges helps create and fund exhibitions, bringing together artwork from museum partners, private lenders, foundations and a collection that will be established as a part of Art Bridges. Possible partner institutions range from large museums with deep collections they are unable to fully display, to small and mid-sized museums seeking to share a wider range of artworks with visitors. The exhibitions supported by Art Bridges will include in-depth educational and interpretive materials, and will range from single-object loans to fully developed thematic exhibitions. Additional information, including a list of works currently in the Art Bridges’ collection, is available at

About Terra-Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation for American Art

Terra-Art Bridges is the most recent example of the Terra Foundation’s dedication to fostering the exploration, understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States, and sharing meaningful experiences of American art throughout its native Chicago, the nation, and the world. Founded in 1978 with an exceptional collection of American art from the colonial period to 1945, along with an expansive grant program, Terra is a leading foundation focusing on American art through its support of exhibitions, academic programs, publications, and research worldwide. Since 2005, the Terra Foundation has invested more than $95 million for nearly 1,000 exhibitions, academic and education programs, research and publications in 31 countries. For more information, please visit

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its collection, representing all cultures and time periods. The Museum has more than 140 galleries displaying its encyclopedic collection, which includes Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia; Art of Africa and Oceania; Art of the Ancient World; Prints and Drawings; Photography; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 am–5 pm; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 am–10 pm. Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions. Admission is free for University Members and youths age 17 and younger. Wednesday nights after 4 pm admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25), while five Open Houses offer the opportunity to visit the Museum for free. The Museum’s mobile MFA Guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. For more information, call 617.267.9300, visit or follow the MFA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



Karen Frascona