IMLS Supports Community Programs at the Palo Alto Art Center

Published on November 05, 2021

Institute of Museum and Library Services Supports Community Programs at the Palo Alto Art Center and City of Palo Alto from COVID into Recovery

American Rescue Fund and Museums for America Grants will Build Upon Previous Support from CARES Grant Program

The Palo Alto Art Center and Palo Alto Art Center Foundation are honored to announce two recent grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS): an American Rescue Fund grant and a Museums for America grant.

American Rescue Fund Award

The American Rescue Fund award of $49,742 to the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation will support Centering Accessibility, a project that strengthens the organization’s capacity to engage and serve individuals and families with disabilities of all kinds. The project leverages the Palo Alto Art Center’s Fall 2021 exhibition The Art of Disability Culture to empower the organization as an accessible community resource and trusted venue for visitors of all ability levels. The project includes community partnerships, exhibition and public program interpretation and access features, new staffing positions, and staff training—all intended to sustain a commitment to serving audiences with diverse access needs. The project intends to create a more accessible experience of art, and ongoing opportunities for both appreciating and celebrating the disability community. It also aims to create a chance for disabled people to come together physically and virtually in community after the profound challenges of our past COVID-year.

Museums for America Grant

The Museums for America grant awarded this fall to the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation in the amount of $129,757 will support Creative Attention: Art and Community Restoration. This multifaceted community project showcases the unique perspectives of artists and the transformative power of the arts in our current age of anxiety. Creative Attention builds upon the Art Center’s rich tradition of artist residencies, art education programs, and outreach to the diverse Mid-Peninsula community. The project will include an exhibition, free community art therapy workshops, artists residencies, and wellness programs all intended to support individual and community resilience.

These recent awards build upon an Institute of Museum and Library Services CARES award provided to the City of Palo Alto Library, in partnership with the Palo Alto Art Center and Junior Museum & Zoo in 2020. This one-year grant of $129,039 supported From Onsite to Virtual: Expanding Access to Community Learning Resources, which expanded capacity in creating virtual and hybrid programming and events that meet the expressed needs of the community amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This project is built on the premise that community needs and modes of engagement will continue to evolve over the coming months and years, and thus is designed to be highly flexible and nimble to respond to a rapidly changing environment. The project includes in-depth staff training in digital content development with the Midpen Media Center and equipment. As a result of this program, the Palo Alto Library, the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo, and the Palo Alto Art Center offered  hundreds of virtual and hybrid programs, school tours, and events.

The program also produced a digital playbook intended to provide a model for best practices in virtual programs for museum and libraries. The playbook is available here: From Onsite to Virtual: A Virtual Programming Playbook for Libraries, Museums, and Zoos(PDF, 9MB)

These three grant programs have significantly expanded art, culture, and educational offerings to the public during COVID and recovery.

“As pillars of our communities, libraries and museums bring people together by providing important programs, services, and collections. These institutions are trusted spaces where people can learn, explore and grow,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “IMLS is proud to support their initiatives through our grants as they educate and enhance their communities.”


About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Palo Alto Art Center

The Palo Alto Art Center is your place to discover art. See, make, and be inspired because everyone is an artist. Created by the community, for the community in 1971, the Palo Alto Art Center provides an accessible and welcoming place to engage with art. We serve approximately 150,000 people every year through a diverse range of programs.

The Palo Alto Art Center, Division of Arts and Sciences, City of Palo Alto is funded in part by grants from the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation. The Palo Alto Art Center Foundation gratefully acknowledges support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Yellow Chair Foundation, Acton Family Giving, SVCreates, in partnership with the County of Santa Clara, private donations, and members

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