Nelson-Atkins Museum increases grants by almost a million

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is riding high on the endorsement of $2.6 million in grant money for the fiscal year that ended April 30. The amount is almost a million dollars more than grants for the previous fiscal year.

The Nelson-Atkins received more than a dozen grants from foundations, government sources, corporate donations and sponsorships for projects ranging from special exhibitions to educational programs.

The September 2008 special exhibition, “Art in the Age of Steam,” attracted almost $500,000 from multiple sources, including BNSF Railway and Union Pacific.

Three recent photography exhibitions, including the “Photography and Fame” show, received $25,000 in support from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation in New York.

The Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts contributed one of the largest grants, giving $150,000 for the restoration of four small Flemish Phaethon Tapestries.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded the same amount toward enhancing the museum’s web site,, and gave an additional $57,710 to restore two 19th century American sofas that will be part of the reinstallation of the American collections.

Community and educational programs netted more than $370,000 in support from AT&T, Sprint, the Louetta M. Cowden Foundation, the Oppenstein Brothers Foundation and the Blakemore Foundation, Seattle.

Funds for general operating support came from the Missouri Arts Council, which gave $146,000, and the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City, which contributed $39,000.

— Alice Thorson