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25 Years of Helping Open Up Access to Extraordinary Artistic Creation and Cultural Heritage

Art is essential—it helps us reflect on what it means to be human and connect with one another across difference.

Over 25 years, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) has worked to help broaden access to world-class arts initiatives and organizations in 35 countries. More than 1,100 grants totaling $1.1 billion to arts organizations have prioritized accessibility, opened doors for early-career arts and culture workers, shared Greece’s rich artistic history around the world, and helped cultural institutions present incredible works to the public and reach new audiences. Through the work of SNF’s partners, art sparks curiosity about our world and how it works, helps people and communities find their voices, and gives us a language to work through the major challenges we face together.

Culture, by definition, is meant to be shared, and SNF grants have helped cultural institutions reach and serve a wide variety of audiences, from kids to older adults, from military service members to new mothers. Grants have provided free access to stellar cultural institutions and have sought to help ensure that people of all abilities and in all living situations have opportunities to make, share, and experience art. Among many others, SNF has helped support:

  • BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), the Benaki Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, The Frick Collection, The Guggenheim, Signature Theatre Company, and others in providing free and reduced-price access to top-quality collections of work and performances
  • The Culture Pass initiative in providing free access to dozens of cultural institutions to library card holders in New York City
  • Carnegie Hall in pairing teaching musicians with new parents in homeless shelters, correctional facilities, refugee camps, foster care, and elsewhere to write original lullabies for their children
  • The Barbican Centre in supporting the National Open Youth Orchestra for musicians with and without disabilities
  • The Whitney Museum of American Art in offering youth, community, access, and senior education programs
  • Artesens in producing traveling exhibitions on foundational works of art from around the world designed for people who are sighted and people with visual impairments
  • Seveneleven Theater Company in reaching seniors with interactive social programming through the thāllo program
  • Theater of War Productions in engaging diverse audiences, from members of the military to medical first responders, in discussions of difficult but urgent issues based on readings from ancient Greek plays and other texts
  • Streetwise Opera in strengthening and connecting arts projects by people who have experienced homelessness
  • Philadelphia Murals Arts in using art to support community wellness, particularly for people facing mental health issues
  • The Learning Through Art program from The Guggenheim in placing teaching artists in New York City public schools
  • We the Curious in creating an exhibit powered by the curiosity of everyday Bristolians that melds art and science
  • Clean Break in offering theater-based opportunities to women in the UK who have experienced the criminal justice system

Making the arts and culture sector inclusive and open to everyone means offering opportunities for early-career arts and cultural workers to build skills, perform and produce, and grow in their practice. SNF has supported:

  • The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in offering internships to early-career professionals across the museum’s departments
  • The Courtauld Institute of Art  in offering scholarships to give access to a transformational graduate education in the arts for over 20 years though the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Scholarship Fund
  • The Shed in giving early-career artists in performance, the visual arts, or popular culture media the chance to present their work in New York
  • United States Artists in offering emergency grants for essential needs to individual artists around the U.S. affected by the pandemic
  • ARTWORKS in offering hundreds of artists a paid fellowship to dedicate themselves to their artistic practice, network, and grow through programming
  • The Royal College of Art in offering funding to PhD students pursuing research at the intersection of science and the arts through the SNF STEAM Research Fund
  • Megaro Youth Symphony Orchestra in offering opportunities for young people in Northern Greece to pursue a professional path in music
  • Schooligans in putting on the Schoolwave Festival to give student bands in Greece the opportunity to perform under professional conditions
  • Every music school across Greece in enhancing musical teaching and practice through the provision of musical instruments for students

SNF’s roots are in Greece, and one facet of the Foundation’s mission is sharing Greek culture, art, and heritage with people around the world. SNF has supported:

SNF also supports leading cultural institutions in pioneering new approaches to engaging audiences, forming connections across borders and across disciplines, and making exceptional works of art available to the public. The Foundation has supported:

  • Lincoln Center in reimagining and reactivating public space for a new era through the Stavros Niarchos Foundation-Lincoln Center Agora Initiative
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art in bringing its collections to life through performances by artist working in a range of disciplines as part of MetLiveArts
  • The Bibliothèque Nationale de France in restoring the Louis XV Salon, home to a collection of antiquities, including from ancient Greece
  • The Science Museum in sparking visitors’ curiosity through revamped and re-envisioned galleries
  • The Greek National Gallery in making more than double the number of objects in its collection accessible to the public
  • Fondation Beyeler in holding major exhibitions of works by Picasso and Gaugin
  • The Institut du Monde Arabe in offering an opportunity to visit Mosul in Iraq, Aleppo and Palmyra in Syria, and Leptis Magna in Libya virtually
  • The Greek National Opera in launching from a state-of-the-art home at the SNFCC in Athens to reach audiences worldwide
  • The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Greece in opening its doors and reaching its full potential in sharing art with the public
  • The Benaki Museum in restoring the Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor House to serve as a center to host visiting scholars and artists

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens, created through SNF’s largest single grant to date and given to the people of Greece in 2017, realizes a vision for how people from all walks of life can enjoy theatrical performance, literature, visual arts, music, cultural and sports activities, and more, all in a public space they can truly make their own. Each summer, the SNFCC buzzes with SNF Nostos, a free and open annual celebration from the Foundation featuring thought-provoking art, dazzling shows, and electrifying music.

This list includes just a few of the more than one thousand grants SNF has made in the area of arts and culture. Explore more.