Hauser & Wirth Institute awards over $200,000 to support artist communities and organizations in preserving, archiving their own legacies. - FAD Magazine

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Hauser & Wirth Institute awards over $200,000 to support artist communities and organizations in preserving, archiving their own legacies.

Robert Blackburn, courtesy EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop

Today, Hauser & Wirth Institute announced the recipients of their 2023 Grants, the third annual funding initiative aimed at supporting artist communities and organizations in self-documenting, preserving, and activating their own archives. The grantees are EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop (New York City); iniva (London); Letterform Archive (San Francisco); and Visual AIDS (New York City).

A nonprofit operating free from commercial interests and independently from their primary funder (Hauser & Wirth Gallery), the Institute’s annual grants build on their mission to make the field of artists’ archives more equitable and accessible by enabling the preservation of self-determined and under-documented histories.

The fundamental purpose of our grantmaking is to help radically increase access to archives,

This year’s grantees exemplify many creative approaches to opening up the archive, including the creation of an oral history; creating new staff positions for archivists; supporting researchers to use archives of underknown artists, and providing financial support to docent educators who were formerly unpaid,” says Lisa Darms, Executive Director. “The work of archives is often invisible. It’s our hope that these awards will not only support increased visibility for communities that have been marginalized, but will also shine a light on the labor that goes into preserving and activating these histories.

Hauser & Wirth Institute Executive Director Lisa Darms.

Announcement of the 2023 Grantees comes on the eve of Hauser & Wirth Institute’s participation in Independent 20th Century (September 7–10, 2023) where they will present selections from two artists’ archives they’ve recently supported: Zahoor ul Akhlaq (1941-1999) and Mary Dill Henry (1913 – 2009). In 2021, the Institute awarded Asia Art Archive (AAA) a grant to support organizing and digitizing the ul Akhlaq archive, and the selection of the Pakistani artist’s materials for the Institute’s booth at the art fair will be curated by AAA Head of Research John Tain.

The 2023 Grants extend Hauser & Wirth Institute’s support of individual organizations working to preserve and meaningfully increase access to artistic legacies. Since 2021, over $1M has gone to projects now underway at Carolee Schneemann Foundation (New York), Institute of American Indian Arts (New Mexico), South Side Community Art Center (Chicago), Women’s Studio Workshop (Rosendale, NY), The Studio Museum in Harlem (New York), Asia Art Archive (Hong Kong), Sixty Inches From Center (Chicago), and YVR Art Foundation (Vancouver, BC), in addition to scholarships to Pratt Institute to fund full tuition for BIPOC graduate students entering the three-year, dual-degree Master’s program in Library and Information Science and the History of Art and Design.


EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop ($50,000)

Robert Blackburn with printshop artists, Image Courtesy of EFA RBPMW

The longest-running community print shop in the United States, dating back to 1947, EFA RBPMW will use this grant to complete a video-based oral history, Creative Graphic Community: Oral Histories Project, to document founder Robert Blackburn (1920-2003) and the history of the community workshop.

Raised within the Harlem Renaissance and of Jamaican-American descent, Blackburn was not only a visionary African-American artist but also a pioneering master printmaker and celebrated educator. 

EFA RBPMW has over 20,000 prints by over 4,000 artists, including Elizabeth Catlett, Charles White, Krishna Reddy, Faith Ringgold, Melvin Edwards. A diverse record of printmaking in the United States like no other, the archive reflects the various communities with which Blackburn participated, like the Harlem Renaissance, Black Arts Movement, and Caribbean, Latino, Asian, Indigenous, feminist, and ecologically-focused activism. 

This oral history will collect narratives of the artists, staff, curators, and others who have been instrumental in the Printmaking Workshop community. Ten narrators, all in their 70s and 80s, will share personal stories that document the socio-historical context in which the community and collective formed, and the cultural collaborations it engendered.

One of the core values of EFA RBPMW is the spirit of openness and inclusion, this value has been instrumental in our success, both in terms of formal recognition and cultural impact. It is especially significant considering the challenges we have faced under restrictive conditions of segregation and discrimination. Despite these obstacles, EFA RBPMW has thrived and continues to be a vibrant hub for artists from all backgrounds; famous, under-represented, and to-be-discovered.

EFA RBPMW Directors.

iniva ($72,500)

iniva Archive Viewing – Artist Files Image Courtesy of iniva

iniva is a UK-based visual arts charity that grew out of the 1980s Black British Arts Movement and is dedicated to nurturing and disseminating a critical counterpoint to Western art historical narratives. The funding will support a professional archivist to catalog and make accessible iniva’s archive of radical and emergent contemporary artistic practice centering Global Majority, African, Asian, and Caribbean diaspora perspectives between 1994-2005.

iniva’s archive consists of hundreds of artists files, slides, printed ephemera, and iniva’s founding documents. This includes documentation of their founding symposium, Global Visions: Towards a New Internationalism, and board papers from 1994 to the present day.

Letterform Archive ($50,000)

Docent Program, Image Courtesy of Letterform Archive

Stewards of important design artifacts spanning thousands of years of history, San Francisco’s Letterform Archive will use the grant to make their docents program a paid program in order to improve recruitment, training and retention of educators who are from marginalized communities. The grant will support the organization’s commitment to radical access to their library, which makes a curated collection of over 100,000 items related to lettering, typography, calligraphy, and graphic design accessible in-person and remotely.

Letterform Archive’s Collections and Exhibition Docent Program facilitates our mission of radical access by training local and global letterform enthusiasts in the art of guiding others through our collection and exhibitions.

With generous support from Hauser & Wirth Institute, we can now provide stipends to docents, which enables the program to be a more equitable professional and personal development opportunity. Improving access to our docent program has a ripple effect; docents uncover materials that resonate with their own lived experience, and they share that resonance with visitors, thereby bringing more stories from the archive to life for a wider variety of visitors.

Letterform Archive Collections Programming Manager Sair Goetz

Visual AIDS ($30,000)

Photographs and documents related to artist Garland Eliason – French, part of a collection donated to the Visual AIDS Archive Project in 2019, Image Courtesy of Visual AIDS

Visual AIDS, the contemporary arts organization committed to preserving and honoring the work of artists with HIV/AIDS and the artistic contributions of the AIDS movement, will use this grant to help fund a permanent archivist position. The only resource of its kind, the Visual AIDS Archive Project and Artist Registry collects, preserves, and provides access to the personal papers, audiovisual materials, publications, and ephemera created, dealing with, or collected by artists living with HIV or those who have passed. Their archival holdings constitute the only extant historical materials for many of these artists. 

The current archive includes 25,600 physical slides and over 18,600 digital images from 945 living artists and estates. Hauser & Wirth Institute’s support will allow Visual AIDS to maintain an archivist on staff, who will oversee digitization of materials, catalog accessibility, and create more robust collection management and procedures, to ensure equity in their processes. 

The Visual AIDS Archive was created at the height of the AIDS crisis in 1994 as a community-based initiative to preserve the artwork and legacies of HIV-positive artists.

Over the last thirty years the Archive has been cared for with love and dedication, but only recently have we been able to hire a Project Archivist to begin to properly organize and catalog our collections. Now, with the support of Hauser & Wirth Institute, we are thrilled to be able to establish a permanent Archivist position at Visual AIDS. Our new Archivist will ensure that our existing collections are as accessible as possible and will help develop our collecting policies so that the Archive can continue to grow.

Visual AIDS Interim Director Kyle Croft.


Hauser & Wirth Institute is a non-profit, private foundation dedicated to transforming the ?eld of artists’ archives by nurturing equity and innovation and increasing access to archives. Operating independently of commercial interests, the Institute provides grants for progressive archival projects and education, fosters networks locally and internationally and organizes public programming that enlivens and expands conversations around artistic legacies.

The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (EFA) is a 501(c)(3) public charity, dedicated to providing artists across all disciplines with space, tools, and a cooperative forum for the development of individual practice. We are a catalyst for cultural growth, stimulating new interactions between artists, creative communities, and the public. EFA has three major programs: EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, EFA Studio Program, and EFA Project Space. 

EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop Program (EFA-RBPMW), launched in 2005, is a fully equipped, professional, cooperative print workspace. Inspired by Robert Blackburn’s vision of a culturally diverse artistic community, EFA RBPMW provides affordable workshop access, unique learning opportunities, and publishes the work of underrepresented and established artists to expand the creation, understanding and collection of fine art prints.

iniva is an evolving visual arts organization dedicated to nurturing and disseminating radical and emergent contemporary artistic practice centring Global Majority, African, Asian, & Caribbean diaspora perspectives. For 28 years it has been iniva’s mission to be an agent for change in the cultural sector, advocating for social justice through the support of artists and communities as well as via the forms of exchange that advance our desire to understand each other and respect the cultural values that challenge cultural ‘norms’.

Based in San Francisco, Letterform Archive is a nonprofit center for inspiration, education, and community. It preserves important artifacts in the history of letterforms and graphic design, and it strives to actively share them with the public. Since it opened to visitors in 2015, the collection has quintupled in size through the generosity of donors, and now includes over 85,000 items related to the letter arts. Lovers of letters will again have hands-on access to the collection when its new reading room opens in summer 2022. The Archive serves a global community through social media, publications, and the Online Archive, and offers a full-year postgraduate certificate program in type design as well as public workshops in calligraphy, lettering, and typography. Additionally, the Archive curates local and international exhibitions, organizes lectures, and hosts salons to showcase collections. 

Founded in 1988, Visual AIDS utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting artists living with HIV, and preserving a legacy, because AIDS is not over. For 35 years, Visual AIDS has produced and commissioned public programs, exhibitions, films, publications, and research opportunities–while celebrating the work of artists living with HIV and stewarding the legacies of those lost to AIDS. Visual AIDS is committed to catalyzing contemporary dialogue around HIV and AIDS today, while preserving and honoring the artistic contributions of the early AIDS movement.



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