The arts are "a space where we can give dignity to others while interrogating our own circumstances." Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation
Did You Know?
Starting in the 1800s, many Americans learned artistic skills, both to pursue economic opportunities and contribute to shaping the country’s culture. Philanthropists created design schools to help expand access to arts education. The Art in Industry exhibition tells this story.
British scientist James Smithson left a bequest to the United States to found what has become the Smithsonian Institution. The National Museum of American History’s resources provide a window onto the history of philanthropy for the Smithsonian—including gifts of objects—along with telling other stories about cultural philanthropy. These resources also examine how Americans have used arts to promote social change.