The Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University has been awarded a $30,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support its forthcoming exhibition "Breath of Heaven, Breath of Earth: Ancient Near Eastern Art from American Collections," scheduled to open Aug. 31 and continue through Dec. 22, 2013.
The exhibition features 64 objects that date from approximately 6000 BCE to 500 BCE and will introduce visitors to the art, history, and cultures of the ancient Near East. These cultures date back to the dawn of recorded history and gave Western civilization such concepts as cities, writing, literature, schools, laws, poetry, philosophy, medicine and the Judeo-Christian tradition. Drawing from some of the most distinguished collections in the United States, the exhibition brings together works from notable institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, among many others.
John Olbrantz, the Maribeth Collins Director of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art and co-curator of the exhibition said, “We are honored to receive this NEA grant that validates and supports this major exhibition which features outstanding ancient Near Eastern artworks that are not normally available or accessible to audiences in the Western United States."
In August 2012, the NEA received 1,547 applications for Art Works grants seeking more than $80 million in funding. A total of 817 grants were awarded across 13 disciplines (totaling $26.3 million). Forty-six of these were awarded to museums (11 were museums affiliated with colleges and universities). Total NEA grants in Oregon amounted to $420,000, and also included the Portland Art Museum, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, and the University of Oregon.