Andrea Chung in Culture Type 5.12.20

Museum of African Diaspora in San Francisco Raised $450,000+ in Online Benefit Auction, Helping to Sustain Operations


by  on  • 10:58 pm

MoAD Executive Director Monetta White reported results of online benefit auction in video message to supporters.

ARTISTS, GALLERIES, AND COLLECTORS answered a call for support and came together to help the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco, which has faced a critical funding shortfall since temporarily closing in the wake of the COVID-19 virus. MoAD held its first-ever benefit auction with Artsy from April 21-May 6 and raised more than $450,000, according to Monetta White, the museum’s executive director.

White described the outcome as “a historic and beyond exciting moment.” In a video message to the museum’s supporters, she said the funds raised would “benefit MoAD’s reopening and our ability to thrive in the near and long-term future during such a difficult time for all of us. This gives us hope and is a sign that things will get better for all of us, in time, as we continue to band together and support each other.”

She also offered a special thanks to her “dear friend” Mariane Ibrahim, the Chicago gallery owner who helped develop the idea for the auction.

“The funds raised would “benefit MoAD’s reopening and our ability to thrive in the near and long-term future during such a difficult time for all of us.”
— MoAD Executive Director Monetta White

Works by 34 artists, including Kwame Brathwaite, Amoako Boafo, Andrea Chung, Jerrell Gibbs, Whitfield Lovell, Otis Kwame Kye Oquaicoe, and Lava Thomas, were donated to the sale, which was called “MoAD: Diaspora Unite!Artists of African Descent Benefit Auction 2020.”

Proceeds from the sale represent about 25 percent of the museum’s annual revenue. MoAD receives support from foundations, corporate donors, and the City of San Francisco. Revenue was $1.99 million in the fiscal year ending in 2018, according to MoAD’s tax filing. The previous year was $3.05 million.

The museum was scheduled to debut its spring exhibitions on March 25, including solo shows dedicated to artists Mary Lovelace O’NealDavid HuffmanSam Vernon, and Sydney Cain.

San Francisco issued a shelter-in-place order on March 16, closing all schools and non-essential businesses and organizations, including MoAD. The museum was in the midst of installing the new exhibitions at the time. Staff members have been working from home every since. On March 30, MoAD laid off seven of its 18 employees. The remaining staff began working reduced hours.

The exhibitions have been postponed. They are not canceled. When the museum re-opens, depends upon the local government lifting its closure requirements.

“While we are continuing to plan the installation of these exhibitions, we are not able to announce a confirmed opening date as we are scheduling around the city ordinances,” Emily Kuhlmann, MoAD’s director of exhibitions and curatorial affairs, told Culture Type.

“There have been extensions and changes with SIP (shelter-in-place) in San Francisco and were are working closely with the city to work in accordance with health and safety recommendations, so it is hard to say exactly when we will be able to open.”

In the lead up to the benefit sale, the museum indicated that without an infusion, its future was hanging in the balance. Post auction, Kuhlmann echoed White’s sentiments about the outcome. She said the museum is “thrilled with the success of the auction” and that the results “exceeded our expectations.” CT

Click here for more information.