The MIT-based Museum Loan Network has announced the premiere performances of its new partnership with the American Composers Forum and the renewal of a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Created in 1995 to promote and facilitate the long-term borrowing and lending of art objects among museums, the Museum Loan Network (MLN) has been administered by the MIT Office of the Arts since its inception. MIT was chosen as host, in part because of the Institute's long-standing commitment to the creative arts, as well as its expertise in the computing technology necessary to set up and maintain the program's database of more than 8,000 objects that serves as a shared permanent collection for museums nationwide.
Playing matchmaker, the MLN connects museums - those that need objects and those that have them - facilitating and funding the long-term loans to 191 institutions in 48 states.
Now, in a new collaboration with the American Composers Forum, the MLN is also matching composers with museums. "Museums, Composers and Communities" brings new music and the creative energy of composers directly into museums and their communities as composers are commissioned to create original pieces of work inspired by the museum installations.
The first three of six works commissioned through the 2001 pilot program will be premiered this fall, at the Mobile Museum of Art in Mobile, Ala., the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, Kans., and the Western Heritage Center in Billings, Mont.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has awarded the MLN $2.75 million to continue its operations. The foundation has supported the MLN with more than $6 million in grants since the program's creation.
"The enthusiastic participation of the museum community has confirmed the need and value of the MLN program. It is a pleasure to be able to continue support of this outstanding venture," said Hodding Carter III, president and CEO of the Knight Foundation. Established in 1950, the foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 23, 2002.