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Shaker Museum receives $1 million grant from The Ellsworth Kelly Foundation for new building

Interior Exhibition Space, Rendering of Shaker Museum, Designed by Selldorf Architects
Selldorf Architects
Interior Exhibition Space, Rendering of Shaker Museum, Designed by Selldorf Architects

Shaker Museum in Mount Lebanon and Chatham, New York has received a $1 million grant from The Ellsworth Kelly Foundation. WAMC’s Sarah LaDuke has more.

The grant will fund construction of a new sustainable space in Chatham, New York where Shaker Museum will present humanities programming and exhibitions.

American artist Ellsworth Kelly, who died in 2015, was a minimalist whose work is widely exhibited at major arts institutions throughout the world. His husband, Jack Shear, is the President of The Ellsworth Kelly Foundation. Shaker Museum Executive Director Lacy Schutz:

“Ellsworth Kelly and Jack Shear have been wonderful friends to Shaker Museum for a very, very long time. Ellsworth Kelly moved to Columbia County in the early 1970s and he started collecting Shaker just to furnish his house, he didn't he didn't necessarily know much about the Shakers when he first started buying Shaker furniture. And he got interested and Jack got interested and when Ellsworth Kelly died the collection that they had amassed together came to Shaker Museum. They were both very very supportive during Ellsworth’s lifetime and Jack has continued that support in just the most tremendous ways in the intervening years.”

The project was sidelined by – you guessed it – the COVID-19 pandemic. But that gave Shaker Museum time to meticulously plan what they wanted to accomplish. Again, Schutz:

“We're so excited by the just enormous outpouring of support and enthusiasm that has come towards this project, you know, in the last couple of years especially, because these have been such hard, hard months with the pandemic. So to have this really wonderful example of the momentum and the excitement around this project has been really energizing for everybody for our staff and for our board and for our local community.”

Sellford Architects has designed the new building, which will provide more than 27,000 square feet of space for public and private use. A groundbreaking in downtown Chatham is expected next year.

Sarah has been a public radio producer for over fifteen years. She grew up in Saranac Lake, New York where she worked part-time at Pendragon Theatre all through high school and college. She graduated from UAlbany in 2006 with a BA in English and started at WAMC a few weeks later as a part-time board-op in the control room. Through a series of offered and seized opportunities she is now the Senior Contributing Producer of The Roundtable and Producer of The Book Show. During the main thrust of the Covid-19 pandemic shut-down, Sarah hosted a live Instagram interview program "A Face for Radio Video Series." On it, Sarah spoke with actors, musicians, comedians, and artists about the creative activities they were accomplishing and/or missing.