Mellon Foundation grants to Walker will fund dance projects, research

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation today announced three grants totaling more than a million dollars for the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

The grants will be used to examine connections between dance and the visual arts. Walker President Olga Viso said one grant is to research and preserve the Walker's new collection of artifacts from dance pioneer Merce Cunningham. The remainder will fund 16 new dance pieces over the next three years, overseas research projects for curators, and pay for six major dance projects specifically for American artists.

"It's funds to support where artists are going and experimenting, so I see it as not only a testament to the institution, but a testament to the artists which is really what they are looking to support," Viso said. "And a legacy of great iconic figures like Merce Cunningham, whose influence continues to reverberate to this day."

The Cunningham collection contains costumes and stage sets created by several acclaimed modern painters including Robert Rauschenberg and Roy Lichtenstein.