Through the generosity of the late Lee Krasner, one of the leading abstract expressionist painters and the widow of Jackson Pollock, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation was established in 1985 to provide financial assistance to individual working visual artists of established ability.
The Foundation is pleased to report that since its inception in 1985, it has awarded over 4,600 grants totaling nearly 77 million dollars to artists in 78 countries.
Both artists finished their training just as the Great Depression of the 1930s was devastating the U.S. economy. Millions of people were out of work, and the prospects for young unknown artists were dim. Fortunately Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal administration created employment programs that included workers in the arts, and both Pollock and Krasner took advantage of them. From 1935 to 1943, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Art Project gave them, and thousands of other artists nationwide, a living wage to do the work for which they were trained. The agency’s non-discriminatory hiring policy was based on artistic merit and financial need. Freed from the demands of the commercial art market, artists made murals, easel paintings, and other works for public buildings. And they experimented with new approaches, paving the way for Abstract Expressionism’s emergence after World War II.
Lee Krasner never forgot the personal and professional advantages she and Pollock received on the WPA, and was mindful of the lack of such opportunities in the contemporary art world. In planning her legacy, she envisioned a charitable organization that would serve a similar function: to relieve the financial burden on recognized professional artists so they can practice and advance their work. Her prudent management of Pollock’s estate, as well as her own successful career, provided the initial funding to make that vision a reality.
-Helen Harrison, Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Director, Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, East Hampton, NY
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND ACTIVITIES
In 2020 the Pollock-Krasner Foundation celebrates thirty-four years of grant making to individual artists, continuing to fulfill our mandate to support worthy visual artists. Since our inception in 1985 we have been privileged to award nearly $77,000,000 to over 4,600 grantees in 78 countries. Our grants continue to be utilized for a broad variety of artists’ needs ranging from supplies and casting materials to purchasing medical insurance.
We offer older artists of distinction and achievement our three-year Lee Krasner Awards celebrating their noteworthy careers. We also have instituted an annual award, the Pollock Prize for Creativity, in honor of our thirty years of grant making. Both of these awards are by nomination only. Finally, we are now awarding grants, through a closed nomination process, to fine art photographers. In addition to supporting individual artists, we continue to award grants to outstanding arts organizations or institutions that are making a direct contribution to the well-being of artists.
In reviewing our three-decade history, we are acutely aware that the struggle of talented artists to stabilize their careers and have time and resources to do their work is a never-ending challenge. While there are instances of increased funding and renewed interest of government support for individual artists here and abroad, the reality is, that this support (whether federal, state, or local) continues to be precarious. There is still a lack of support from foundations, corporations, and wealthy donors toward this end.
There is no way that we can adequately express our appreciation to the distinguished men and women who have served anonymously on our Committee of Selection, which reviews all of our applicants’ submissions and advises on artistic merit. This committee, composed of museum officials, artists, patrons, and critics, has demonstrated a cross-cultural expertise in judging contemporary art and is highly qualified to recognize artistic merit from whatever country, style, school, or technique.
Finally, we express our deepest appreciation and gratitude to our remarkable staff of committed and congenial colleagues and the devotion of our Executive Vice President, Kerrie Buitrago. These individuals have made a major contribution to the success, reputation, and impact of our Foundation.
These countries include: