San José Museum of Art Receives Emergency Funds from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Art Museum Futures Fund

Release date 
Thursday, December 17, 2020

To help offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the San José Museum of Art emergency funds as part of the second round of the Art Museum Futures Fund.

The Art Museum Futures Fund, launched in September 2020, is a relief program to support arts and cultural organizations during the COVID-19 crisis. At that time, $24 million was distributed to 12 midsized arts museums and cultural organizations across the country. In December 2020, the Mellon Foundation distributed additional emergency COVID-19 grants, totaling $3 million, to 14 small museums and cultural organizations nationwide. San José Museum of Art (SJMA) was among these 14 small museums and cultural organizations, and the only one in Northern California to receive this emergency grant.

“We are grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support and honored to be included in this group of highly respected peers. Like all arts organizations, SJMA is struggling to deal with the impact of COVID-19,” stated S. Sayre Batton, Oshman Executive Director. “This grant is an endorsement of the incredible efforts of our leadership and staff, who have worked tirelessly to implement new ways to bring the Museum’s collection and programs to its audiences. This funding will help us continue our mission to be a borderless museum, essential to creative life throughout the diverse communities of San José and Silicon Valley.” 

In a statement the Mellon Foundation president Elizabeth Alexander said, 

“America’s small-sized arts and culture institutions sustain their communities by providing access to transformative and wide-ranging artistic contributions while also preserving many different histories and cultural legacies.  As the pandemic continues to threaten the future viability of museums that have long been underresourced, we must do our part to strengthen support for these organizations and the trenchant work they tirelessly undertake to enrich and expand our American story.”

Small arts and cultural institutions are particularly vulnerable to the extraordinary financial obstacles posed by COVID-19. These immediate funds can be used towards general operating support and will help organizations as they adapt.

The second round of the Art Museum Futures Fund was distributed to 14 small museums and cultural organizations with strong and long-standing commitments to the local community and social justice. SJMA is honored to be in a cohort that also includes: 

● Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor, ME

● Art Museum and Visual Arts Program at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque, NM

● California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA

● El Paso Museum of Art, TX

● Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA

● Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY

● Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, MI

● Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, New York, NY

● Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin, TX

● New Britain Museum of American Art, CT

● New Orleans African American Museum, LA

● Riverside Art Museum, CA

● Tucson Museum of Art, AZ



SJMA is located at 110 South Market Street in downtown San José, California near the Plaza de César Chavez. The Museum is temporarily closed, following the Santa Clara County orders to Shelter in Place due to COVID-19. SJMA continues to offer programming online and has expanded digital content by creating a Museum from Home page, found here: Updated weekly, the section features behind-the-scene explorations of exhibitions, art-making videos, educator lesson plans, a Curators’ Dashboard, and more. For up-to-date information about when SJMA will reopen, please visit Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and free to members, college students, youth and children ages 17 and under, and schoolteachers (with valid ID). For more information, call 408.271.6840 or visit