Duke Receives $3.75 Million To Support Next Phase of The Arts

The Duke Endowment gift has supported arts outreach work including RESIST COVID / TAKE 6! by Carrie Mae Weems.
The Duke Endowment gift has supported arts outreach work including RESIST COVID / TAKE 6! by Carrie Mae Weems.

Duke University has been awarded $3.75 million to support arts education and programming for students, faculty and the community.

The grant from The Duke Endowment, a private foundation based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is supporting areas vital to the arts at Duke, including the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts (Duke Arts), Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Nasher Museum of Art, the Center for Documentary Studies, and Duke Performances.

Notably, it helps realize a new vision for the arts at Duke, now directed by the university’s first full-time vice provost for the arts, John V. Brown.

“The next phase of the arts at Duke puts people first: Deeper engagement with visiting artists, a welcoming arts culture, curricular development and accessibility,” said Duke University Provost Sally Kornbluth.

The funds are already going to areas with an urgent need for support as programs shift to accommodate virtual learning and in-person event restrictions. For example, funds enabled the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences to add new hybrid studio and performing arts classes.

“Arts and culture programs are perhaps the most deeply affected by COVID-19, and they will take the longest to recover,” says Vice Provost for the Arts John Brown. “Understanding this — and knowing Duke can lead in sustaining and supporting arts on campus, in Durham and beyond — means this grant comes at a particularly important juncture.”

The award will also support future arts initiatives on campus and in the community. The Nasher Museum of Art will expand its capacity to support departments and students across Duke. The museum will also support underrepresented artists and artists of color through new exhibitions and collaborative, community-based projects such as RESIST COVID / TAKE 6! by Carrie Mae Weems.

Duke Performances will increase the ways students, faculty and the community can engage with artists, and the Center for Documentary Studies will support residencies and initiatives for its program, “Doc X: Residencies for BIPOC Artists.”

Duke University President Vincent E. Price and Provost Kornbluth commissioned a committee of faculty, alumni, administrators, trustees and students to develop a new comprehensive strategy for the arts at the university.

The resulting report provided a road map for how Duke may raise the visibility of the arts, increase access to the arts, and meet the rising demand for arts engagement on campus and within the community.

As part of this strategy, which is tied to Duke’s broader community engagement goals, Brown will transform collaboration and increase alignment across departments and units in order to better reach audiences and deepen the ways the arts at Duke serve Durham, North Carolina and beyond. 

“The arts are an integral part of learning about ourselves and our world,” said Minor Shaw, chair of The Duke Endowment’s board of trustees. “With this grant, we are proud to support Duke’s work advancing arts and art education on campus and beyond.”   

Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $4 billion in grants.

The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.

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