foundation programs




To realize its expanded mission and ambitious programmatic and operational goals, the Foundation will work to increase support and resources from public and private sources. Over several years, the Foundation will incrementally launch and undertake new and/or expanded projects and programs that are tied to its core mission of preserving and perpetuating Romare Bearden’s legacy. To join the growing community of supporters who recognize and appreciate the importance of the Foundation’s mission and who value Romare Bearden’s artistic legacy and to support specific programs of interest, click here.  

Legacy-Based Programs & Projects

Programs and projects that support scholarship, exhibitions and publications about the artist and that preserve and make publicly accessible his artwork and personal library and archives.

  • Romare Bearden Archives

    This rich resource will add substantively to the scholarship on twentieth-century American art and illuminate Bearden’s extraordinary creativity. The archives contain correspondence, sketchbooks, awards, sheet music, photographs, video and cassette tape recordings and published and unpublished manuscripts. Bearden’s personal library of over 2,500 books and journals reflects the broad range of his artistic and aesthetic interests. The archival materials will be processed and cataloged, with an appropriate environment created for their storage, use and display. To help us realize this mission, support the Foundation.
  • Artwork Preservation

    An ongoing project to preserve the extraordinary body of work left to the artist’s estate, including collages, photomontages, watercolors, oils and prints, as they need conservation. To support this initiative, click here.
  • Exhibitions

    National and international exhibitions of Bearden’s artwork in museums and galleries. Small-scale presentations of Bearden’s art from the estate’s collection, as well as artwork by artists influenced by Bearden, exhibited in the Foundation’s art gallery.
  • National Symposium Series

    A national program developed in partnership with and presented at colleges and universities to generate new scholarship on Bearden’s art, life and legacy and inspire fresh ideas and approaches to his work. To support this initiative, click here.
  • Cinque Gallery - A Program of the Romare Bearden Foundation

    The reestablishment of key components of the Cinque Gallery as a program of the Foundation. Bearden established Cinque Gallery in 1969 with Norman Lewis and Ernest Crichlow. With the closing of the Gallery, the Foundation assumes its administration as part of Bearden’s legacy as an institution builder and supporter of artists. To help us realize this mission, support the Foundation.

Grant-Giving Programs

The Foundation will expand its previous grant-giving program by establishing discrete funds that benefit and support three groups: children, young (emerging) artists and scholars. The focus of the program reflects Bearden’s interest in scholarship both as an author of books on art and an avid reader of scholarly literature, and his lifelong advocacy and support of young and underrepresented African-American artists and the cultural and educational organizations that support them. Structured, competitive programs will award grants, scholarships and stipends that nurture artistic talent as well as support creative and educational aspirations.

  • School Programs

    Designed for children in grades K-12, the program will provide long- term support to a select group of students starting in middle school and continuing through high school. Program components include: 1) Grants and stipends to further the education of talented, financially needy art students; and 2) Internships through collaborations with art schools to deepen appreciation and exposure to art. To help support this important initiative, click here.
  • National Bearden Curriculum Project

    The development and national distribution of a comprehensive and content-rich curriculum based on key themes from Bearden’s art and life. Curriculum packets with slides, video and collage demonstration guides for teachers will be developed. The project, piloted in New York, will include a school-based teacher-training component and site visits to the Foundation’s art gallery. To help support this initiative, click here.
  • National Artists Program

    A competitive scholarship/grant program administered in partnership with universities and colleges nationally to provide talented African- American art students with modest grants to support their artistic development. To support this initiative, click here.
  • National Scholars Program

    A national competitive program that provides support for masters or postdoctoral studies to young African-American scholars who aspire to continue their higher education, but are hindered by a lack of financial resources. To support this new initiative, click here.


In the past, the Foundation fulfilled its mandate primarily through modest grants to talented art students, art programs that nurture the creativity of children, cultural institutions that aid deserving artists, and scholarly research and preservation of Bearden’s work. Grantees included the Madison Arts Center UrbanArts Outreach Program; Cinque Gallery, New York; Bridge Street Preparatory School, Brooklyn, New York; Saint Augustine School of the Arts, New York; Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia; Davidson College, North Carolina; and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.

Over the past several years, the Foundation has actively participated in and developed special programs and projects that advanced new scholarship on Bearden, expanded public knowledge of his involvement with other disciplines, including music and literature, as well as enhanced its own public visibility.

  • Exhibitions

    The Foundation worked closely with the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., in developing The Art of Romare Bearden,the most comprehensive retrospective exhibition of Bearden’s work to date and the first major exhibition of an African-American artist ever mounted at that institution. The exhibit traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.
  • Romare Bearden Homecoming Celebration

    The Foundation conceived and developed an historic seven-month long New York Citywide celebration to honor Bearden’s legacy. The Romare Bearden Homecoming Celebration (October 2004 – March 2005), coincided in part with the Whitney Museum of American Art’s presentation of his retrospective and included over twenty participating cultural and educational institutions in all five boroughs offering engaging art, music, dance and family programs. Through the Celebration, the Foundation reached a broad public, educating them about Bearden’s multifaceted talents and interests.
  • Symposia

    Initiated in 1998, the Bearden National Symposium series encourages and supports new scholarship on Bearden at colleges and universities across the country. The series was launched in New York with “Celebrating the Legacy: Conversations on the Art and Life of Romare Bearden,” presented at New York University. The second symposium, “The World of Romare Bearden,” was held at the Center for Jazz Studies, Columbia University, in 2004.
  • Educational Programming

    In partnership with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., the Foundation presented a well-received school- based residency program and a bookmaking and exhibition project using Bearden’s posthumously published children’s book, Li’l Dan, the Drummer Boy: A Civil War Story. The program was funded by the Fannie Mae Foundation.
  • Collaborations

    In recognition of Bearden’s love of jazz, the Foundation conceived of a musical project with saxophonist Branford Marsalis and his recording label, resulting in Romare Bearden Revealed, a new jazz CD inspired by Bearden’s art, which included a reinterpretation of his acclaimed song, Seabreeze.