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Press Release: Art21 Launches “Art21 for Everyone,” an Artist-Driven Campaign Committed to Expanding Access to Contemporary Art

Art21 Launches “Art21 for Everyone,” an Artist-Driven Campaign Committed to Expanding Access to Contemporary Art

New York, NY (October 31, 2023) Art21 is pleased to announce the launch of “Art21 for Everyone,” a capacity-building campaign designed to advance the organization’s mission to expand access to contemporary artists and art. Art21 has always made its continually expanding catalog of films freely accessible; this campaign will ensure that this remains the case, as well as allow the organization to launch brand-new impactful initiatives. A number of groundbreaking artists, including Amy Sherald, Oliver Herring, Julie Mehretu, Pedro Reyes, Aki Sasamoto, Eli Sudbrack, Leonardo Drew, Shaun Leonardo, Azikiwe Mohammed, Guerrilla Girls, Laylah Ali, and Marcel Dzama, will be encouraging audiences this fall to support Art21 as the resource that has been instrumental in their development as artists. 

“Having grown up in the midwestern US, outside of the reach of coastal cities and art centers, I know how special and precious access to art and the people who make it is,” says Julie Mehretu, who was featured in 2009 in Season 5 of Art in the Twenty-First Century. “Art21 is a fundamental resource for any young or practicing artist, who is curious about the tremendous range in practices and forms of art-making that are possible. I think one of the richest aspects of Art21’s mission is the kind of depth of education and access available through their archive. I want to thank Art21 for their power to inspire and incredible vision in commencing this project.”

The launch of “Art21 for Everyone” comes on the heels of an active, exciting period for the organization. This month saw the finale of the eleventh season of Art in the Twenty-First Century, Art21’s Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning documentary series acclaimed for its profiles of the most compelling contemporary artists of our time. Art21 also recently announced the appointment of eight members to their Board of Trustees, a dynamic group tapped from the fields of art, film, media, non-profit leadership, and law, including Abigail DeVille, Nicole Deller, Mark Dorfman, Bill Gautreaux, Erica Samuels, Jasmin Tsou, Christine Turner, and Diana Wierbicki.

The “Art21 for Everyone” campaign will mark a significant milestone in the organization’s history, embarking on a transformative capacity-building campaign bringing Art21 to the fore as the global leader in amplifying the work and profiles of contemporary artists. With the support of a dedicated group of donors, this campaign has successfully raised $5 million so far to fund institutional growth and the development of new initiatives that will bring Art21’s thought-provoking content to new audiences worldwide. 

“Art21 for Everyone” is a significant step forward in realizing the organization’s vision, executing new initiatives laid out in a strategic plan to increase digital access, boost educational impact, and expand film production. Key initiatives include: 

  • The preservation of an invaluable 4,000-hour film archive of raw footage
  • The launch of a filmmaker network and community
  • An expansion of regional programming, taking Art21 on the ground for educators across the U.S.
  • Publication of a new book of curated artist interviews
  • The implementation of accessibility and language upgrades across all platforms
  • Programming for lifelong learning audiences ages 65+
  • Continued expansion of the art documentary catalog via increased production of films

“I want to express my profound gratitude to our early campaign supporters, whose unwavering dedication laid the foundation for this transformational moment for Art21,” said Tina Kukielski, Susan Sollins Executive Director and Chief Curator. These funds will be instrumental in expanding our programs and engaging with new, diverse audiences, furthering Art21’s commitment to disseminating the works and ideas of the artists of our time. 

Art21 is a pioneering force, making contemporary art accessible for over 25 years. In the last year, Art21 released 12 digital films on contemporary artists including Aliza Nisenbaum, Sarah Sze, Paul Pfeiffer, Wong Ping, and Shahzia Sikander; premiered Season 11 of Art in the Twenty-First Century featuring Amy Sherald, Hank Willis Thomas, Linda Goode Bryant, Daniel Lind-Ramos, Anicka Yi, and Miranda July among others; launched Art21 Activations, on-the-ground, regional education programming for educators across the country; held the inaugural “Art21 at the Movies” multi-day program of art documentaries on the big screen in New York City; and reached over 1.3 million followers across social media and 4 million digital viewers of its films.

“Art21 is pleased that this capacity-building campaign garnered the support of a dedicated group of donors, underscoring the importance of this invaluable resource in the arts and for culture at large,” said James Cohan, Art21’s Board Chairman. “We invite those who share Art21’s belief in the power of art to get involved with Art21. By participating in this campaign, people will play a crucial role in bringing artists and audiences together via Art21’s groundbreaking films and programs. 

To explore opportunities to support the Art21 for Everyone campaign, please visit https://art21.org/art21-for-everyone/.

About Art21

Art21 is the world’s leading source to learn directly from the artists of our time. A nonprofit organization, the mission of Art21 is to educate and expand access to contemporary art, producing documentary films, resources, and public programs. Learn more at Art21.org.