Space Gallery, the multimedia contemporary arts venue in downtown Portland, has received a two-year, $100,000 grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the latest in a series of large grants the foundation has given Space in recent years.

Executive director Kelsey Halliday Johnson said the latest grant will help relieve the pressure of fundraising for month-to-month exhibitions and allow her to focus on broader, long-term goals. “It feels validating to have a long-term partner organization like the Warhol Foundation,” said Johnson, who joined Space last summer. “Two years of working directly with artists and not having to worry about fundraising is exciting. To be able to focus on mission work instead of constantly fundraising is a real gift.”

Among the long-term goals she wants to focus on is what she calls “a major facade” project for the nonprofit’s home at 534-538 Congress St.

In addition to the recent gift, the Warhol Foundation has given the arts organization at least $250,000 in organizational and programming support, as well as money for Space to administer its annual Kindling Fund grants, which last year amounted to $65,000.

The latest Warhol Foundation grant, announced on the Space website Tuesday, will directly support artists through more than 20 exhibitions and the commissioning of new media and experimental visual arts projects, Johnson said.

Space was among 42 organizations that received money from the Warhol Foundation, with awards ranging from $35,000 to $120,000. The applicant pool included 224 nonprofit arts organizations around the country.


In a statement, Joe Wachs, president of the Warhol Foundation, said many groups that received money in this round of grants were small organizations with budgets “well under $1 million, yet they are providing vital professional support to a diverse set of artists while remaining socially engaged in their communities.”

Space has an annual budget of just less than $900,000. According to its 2017 annual report, Space hosted 206 events last year that attracted nearly 24,000 visitors. It provided $216,386 in direct funding to 441 Maine artists.

Warhol, who died in 1987, wanted his estate to support artists. His foundation makes grants to artists who are doing experimental, under-recognized and challenging work.

Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes

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