Romare Bearden Foundation

foundation programs


The Romare Bearden Foundation-based programs have two components: legacy-based and grant making. 

Legacy-based Programs are programs and/or projects tied directly to the Foundation’s overall mission of preserving and perpetuating Bearden’s artistic legacy.  This includes projects focused on preserving and making publicly accessible the artist’s archives, library, collection of artwork. 

Legacy-based Programs and projects will also focus on establishing partnerships and collaborations that generate local, national and international scholarship about and exposure to Bearden’s art and life through exhibitions, symposia, and conferences.   A prime example of the outcome of such a partnership is the National Gallery of Art touring exhibition, TheArt of Romare Bearden, the development of which the Foundation played a critical role.  And also the Romare Bearden Homecoming Celebration (September 2004 – March 2005), which was conceived and developed by the Foundation and includes engaging visual arts, dance, music, scholarly, adult, youth and children’s programs and special events throughout the five boroughs.  The New York citywide celebration corresponds with the presentation of The Art of Romare Bearden at the Whitney Museum of American Art in October of 2004, the most comprehensive retrospective of Bearden’s work in more than a decade. Programs and projects like this are intended to introduce Bearden to a broader audience base and to deepen understanding of the artist’s art and life among those who are already familiar with his work. 

Grant Making Programs are a structured, competitive program through which scholarships, grants and stipends are given to or allocated for projects that benefit/support, three core groups: school children, young artists and scholars.  

These three groups are linked to Bearden’s interest in scholarship as an author of books on art and an avid reader of scholarly literature, and also to his advocacy and support of young and under-represented African American artists and the cultural and educational organizations that support them.  

In general, the grant giving programs are intended to support growing artistic and intellectual talent, to develop and nurture creativity from a young age and to financially support the aspirations of deserving but economically challenged students, enabling them to move to a higher level of education. 

About Bearden’s Archives

This rich resource will be a primary focus of the legacy based programs. The archives are housed at the Foundation’s New York headquarters are not yet catalogued and publicly inaccessible. The content, when made available to the public, will add substantively to the scholarship on American art and illuminate Bearden’s extraordinary creativity.  

Bearden’s library includes a substantial collection of un-catalogued books, articles and manuscripts that also reflect the broad range of his intellectual and aesthetic interests. 

Along with cataloguing these collections and creating the appropriate environment for their storage and display, the Foundation will be focused on the completion of an ambitious catalogue raisonne of the artist’s extensive and broadly collected body of work. 


Romare Bearden National Symposium Series

The National Symposium series began in 1998 with a symposium at New York University that included Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell as moderator, Robin D.G. Kelley, currently professor at Columbia University; Albert Murray, scholar, author and friend of Bearden, Derek Walcott, Nobel Prize winning writer and Dore Ashton, art historian and friend of the artist.  

The series continues with the symposium at Columbia University planned for October 2004-05 in partnership with the Center for Jazz Studies as part of the Romare Bearden Homecoming Celebration.  The broad goal of the symposium series is to create a presence for Bearden throughout major universities in the United States, to generate or inspire new scholarship on his art and legacy, and to uncover new ideas and approaches to his work.

School Programs

The Foundation plans to fund on an annual basis a school based program that has three components and that will be focused on children in K-12.  The components are: 

1) A pilot project involving the completion of a comprehensive Bearden curriculum and its national distribution.

2) Furthering the education of talented and financially needy art students by providing grants and stipends.

3) Providing internships through collaborations with art schools to deepen appreciation and exposure to art.  In general, the Bearden Foundation will develop the school-based program around the concept of providing long-term support to a select group of students starting in middle school through high school.

The National Bearden Curriculum Project

The National Bearden Curriculum Project will be developed by a contracted education specialist under the supervision of the Foundation’s Program Director.  The project involves using existing curriculum materials, such as that developed by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, as the basis for the development of a comprehensive and content rich curriculum based on key themes from Bearden’s art and life.  The curriculum will focus on Bearden’s subject matter, medium, techniques, and materials, examining his experience as an modernist artist who was strongly influenced by African American culture (especially the culture of Harlem and the South), and by American, African, Asian and European art.  The project will result in the production and distribution of curriculum packets with slides, video, and collage demonstration guides for teachers.  The project will also include a teacher training component and site visits to the Foundation’s gallery where Bearden’s art works are on display.]

Artists Program

The general focus of the Artists Program is to provide underserved artists venues for exhibition and exposure and financial support to create.  

The two components of the program are: 

1) Support for talented African American artists through exhibitions and other opportunities under the umbrella of the Cinque program at the Bearden Foundation.

2) Scholarship/grant program that is tied to strategic partnerships with a select group of universities and colleges nationally.

In the fall of 2004, the Foundation will assume the administration of Cinque Gallery, in SoHo as a program, a key aspect of its role as the keeper of Romare Bearden’s legacy. Since it was established in 1967 by Bearden, Hale Woodruff and Ernest Crichlow, Cinque Gallery has provided a venue and a forum for young, emerging, under-represented and unknown, but talented artists.  

Bearden Foundation Young Scholars Program

The goal of this program is to establish a fund to provide competitive scholarships to young scholars to help support their studies, whether of Bearden and his art or on other areas including, but not limited to, African American art, culture, history.  This national program will be developed, funded and administered through strategic partnerships with universities and colleges.   The basis of this program is Bearden's interest in enabling artist and intellectuals to broaden themselves across various areas of specialization.   The program will identify students at the end of undergraduate school or programs, to provide support for their masters or postdoctoral studies – students who aspire to continue their higher education but who are hindered constrained because of financial need.