The Baltimore Museum of Art got an early Christmas present yesterday: a $400,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to expand a program aimed at enhancing the visual appreciation of Baltimore city schoolchildren.
The grant, to be paid out over four years, must be matched by the museum on a 3-1 basis.
"I'm thrilled not just for the museum but for the city school system and especially the kids. They're the ultimate recipients here," said BMA director Arnold Lehman.
Mr. Lehman added that the grant came at a "critical moment" for the museum.
"We're looking at a downturn period economically and potentially reduced corporate support for the arts," he said. "Challenge grants always seem to be a galvanizing force."
The grant will allow the BMA to increase participation from eight to 100 fourth-grade classes a year in its interdisciplinary education program, said Schroeder Cherry, director of education. Among other benefits, it will also allow the museum to provide slides, prints and posters to the classrooms; train up to 350 teachers in language arts, social studies, math and science as well as art; and assist in transporting children to and from the museum.
The BMA grant was one of 37 arts advancement awards announced yesterday by the NEA, ranging from $50,000 to $1 million. The total value of the grants was $15.6 million.
Earlier this week, the Baltimore Museum of Industry received a $213,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to renovate the historic industrial plant that houses its collection of tools and machinery.