The Parrish Art Museum is establishing a new social justice fund after receiving a gift by Agnes Gund for this purpose, announced the museum at its benefit gala on July 15, 2017. The fund was established by a donation of $500,000 from Agnes Gund and supported by a $100,000 donation from Dorothy Lichtenstein, according to the museum. The gifts will be used to launch the Dorothy Lichtenstein Artsreach Fund to engage the artist's voice in issues of social injustice.

Last month, Gund established a new Art for Justice fund for criminal justice reform with the aim of reducing mass incarceration. The initiative was funded through her sale of Roy Lichtenstein's Masterpiece, 1962, for $165 million. The founding of the Art for Justice fund was announced at MoMA, where she is president emeritus. 

With the new fund at the Parrish, the Hamptons museum aims to expand its existing efforts to reflect and continue to welcome all members of the diverse community that make up the East End, according to the museum.

“This gift is nothing short of transformational for the Museum,” expressed Sultan in a statement. “It will allow us to take a thoroughly unified approach to all our efforts, and make the Parrish the truly comprehensive, collaborative, and inclusive center for cultural engagement that we wish it to be.”

The Dorothy Lichtenstein ArtsReach Fund is expected to impact all departments in the Parrish, including curation and programming, according to the museum. The aim is to "....engage in dialogue with local communities, collaborate on focused, meaningful programming both at the museum and beyond, and foster community in the broadest sense to transcend geographic, racial, and socioeconomic barriers, affirming the power of art to transform lives and challenge prevailing narratives," according to the museum announcement. Specific goals for the fund have not been planned as the donations to create the fund were more of a happy surprise than a long-time expected promise.  

Dorothy Lichtenstein, Agnes Gund and Terrie Sultan. Photo by Carl Timpone/BFA.com, Courtesy of the Parrish Art Museum.

Dorothy Lichtenstein is a life member of the Parrish Board of Trustees, which she joined nearly two decades ago. During that time, she has been instrumental in advancing numerous Parrish initiatives, and was a vital force for the Museum during a period of growth and innovation. Her active involvement with organizations and institutions throughout the region and on the national stage underscores her commitment to arts and culture as a means to enrich society and communities at large.

"I am honored and moved by this wonderful gift from a friend who has always motivated and inspired me,” said Lichtenstein. “I am particularly grateful that Agnes Gund has chosen to support an initiative that will enable the Parrish, a museum and program I have loved for many years, to have even greater impact on the injustices of our world. To that end, I’m making my own contribution to the Fund, to encourage others to recognize this important initiative."

Agnes Gund is a civic leader and staunch supporter of education, women’s issues and environmental concerns, among other causes. She currently serves on the Mayor’s Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission of New York City, which she previously chaired. She earned a B.A. in History from Connecticut College and a M.A. in Art History from Harvard University, and is the recipient of numerous honorary doctorates. In 1997, Gund received the National Medal of the Arts from President Clinton, and in 2016, she was elected Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Arts.

She is also president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art and chair of its International Council. She is also chair of MoMA PS1. Ms. Gund joined the MoMA Board in 1976 and served as its president from 1991 until 2002. She is the founder and board chair of Studio in a School, a non-profit organization she established in 1977 in response to budget cuts that virtually eliminated arts classes from New York City public schools. She is also co-founder of the Center for Curatorial Leadership. A philanthropist and collector of modern and contemporary art, Gund currently serves on the boards of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies, the Morgan Museum and Library, and Chess in the Schools, among others.

“I am thrilled to honor my friend Dorothy Lichtenstein and to establish the ArtsReach initiative at the Parrish, an institution I have long admired for supporting and exhibiting many artists who live and work on the East End of Long Island,” said Ms. Gund. “The Museum serves as an important cultural resource for the local community and ArtsReach will enable the Parrish to expand its programs, reach and impact.”

Sultan made the announcement on July 15, 2017 at the Parrish's annual Midsummer Party. The benefit gala honored Agnes Gund and artist Clifford Ross, who just opened his Platform exhibition, a site-specific project where artists are invited annual to react to the architecture of the museum.

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07/19/17 EDITOR'S NOTE: The original headline stated the amount received by the Parrish was $150,000. This is an error and has been corrected to reflect the actual amount of $500,000 given by Agnes Gund to establish the fund.

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