Artist Rashid Johnson, a frequent donor to museum fundraisers, at his Brooklyn studio on June 18, 2019. (Photo by Chris Sorensen for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Museums rely on artists to create compelling exhibitions, public programming, and sometimes even promotional materials. But during this unprecedented year, they’ve been leaning on them more than ever for something else, too: fundraising.
As many donors pull back from giving or feel institutions’ needs dwarf what they can offer, museums have upped the ante with an irresistible draw: the opportunity to buy art that collectors might not otherwise have access to. As the need for funding grows greater and hits institutions of all sizes, artists are increasingly offering up their work—and their time—to help the cause.