Rabkin Foundation Awards $400,000 to Art Journalists

Eight Visual Art Journalists Win $50,000 Each

From left to Right: Jurors Lisa Gabrielle Mark, Publisher at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Paul Ha, Director of the List Visual Arts Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts and Walter Robinson, artist, art critic, and former editor from New York City.



Susan C. Larsen, Ph.D., Executive Director




slarsen@rabkinfoundation.org or dfrye@rabkinfoundation.org



July 17, 2017

Rabkin Foundation awards $400,000 to art journalists

Eight Visual Art Journalists Win $50,000 Each

Portland, Maine, July 17, 2017– A new grant program for visual art journalists has awarded grants of $50,000 each to eight writers:  Phong Bui (Brooklyn, New York); Charles Desmarais (San Francisco, California); Bob Keyes (Portland, Maine); Jason Farago (New York, New York); Jeff Huebner (Chicago, Illinois); Carolina Miranda (Los Angeles, California); Christina Rees (Dallas, Texas); and Chris Vitiello (Durham, North Carolina). (Photos & Bios below)

“These are the brave ones, the writers who live by their work and say what they think,” said juror Lisa Gabrielle Mark, Publisher at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Other participating jurors were Paul Ha, Director of the List Visual Arts Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts and Walter Robinson, artist, art critic, and former editor from New York City.

This year’s winning journalists publish regularly in the:  New York Times; San Francisco Chronicle; Los Angeles Times; The Brooklyn Rail; Glasstire; Hyperallergic; Portland Press-Herald; Chicago Reader; Artforum; Lucky Peach; Art News; Art in America; The Guardian; Indyweek and other venues. 

This is the inaugural cycle of grants provided by the Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation of Portland, Maine.  Leo Rabkin was an artist who worked and exhibited in New York City for sixty years. His wife, Dorothea, joined with Leo to create a landmark collection of American folk and outsider art.  They lived in Chelsea and had a wide circle of friends including artists, writers and curators in New York City and beyond.  Dorothea Rabkin (1921-2008) emigrated to the United States from Berlin, Germany, after World War II having been hidden throughout the war accompanied by her twin sister.  She grew to love America for its cultural and artistic freedom.  Leo Rabkin died in 2015 at the age of ninety-five.  He had many friends among the city’s art journalists and was an avid reader of the art press. 


“Leo wanted to create a program that would encourage writers to stay in the profession and be supported and appreciated,” said Susan C. Larsen Ph.D., Executive Director of the Rabkin Foundation and a longtime friend of both Leo and Dorothea.


The grant program is by nomination only.  A distinguished group of sixteen nominators, working in the visual arts in all parts of the country, provided the list of potential winners.  The nominators were asked to identify, “The essential visual art journalist working in your part of the country.”  Candidates for the award submitted two recent articles and a brief curriculum vita.  Our jury considered each one and deliberated together in Portland in mid-July to come up with the final list.  Writers can be re-nominated and are eligible until they win a Rabkin Prize in Visual Arts Journalism.  This will be an annual program and central initiative of the foundation.

Trustees of the Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation are:  Edgar Allen Beem, Portland, Maine (arts journalist, political columnist); Deborah Irmas, Los Angeles, California (writer, art historian, philanthropist); Nancy Karlins Thoman, Ph.D. New York, New York (art historian, journalist).  # # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Susan C. Larsen, Ph.D., Executive Director  at 207-536-1686 or email  slarsen@rabkinfoundation.org or Danielle Frye, Executive Assistant dfrye@rabkinfoundation.org 



Our 2017 RABKIN grant recipients



Rabkin Foundation 2018 Grants:  Folk and Outsider Art

We are pleased to announce the following grants given in calendar year 2018:

INTUIT:  The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago, Illinois- Grant for catalogue accompanying the exhibition, Chicago Calling: Art Against the Flow June, 2018-March 2021.  Exhibition travels to: La Halle Saint Pierre, Paris; The Prinzhorn Collection, Heidelberg; Collection De L'Art Brut, Lausanne; The Outsider Art Museum, Amsterdam.

Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland- Grant in support of an expansion of the museum's Journal.

The American Folk Art Museum, New York, New York- Grant for catalogue to accompany the exhibition, Made in New York: The Business of Art in the City. Curator and author, Elizabeth V. Warren.  To open March 2019.

Bates College, Lewiston, Maine- Grant in support of research and travel for faculty member, Dr. Myron Beasley, whose book, Disturbers of the Peace, is a study of living artists within the African Diaspora.  Dr. Beasley's research explores iconographic and cultural connections between African visual culture and related forms and practices in the Americas.  This study includes the work and ethnographic background of living folk and outsider artists.




Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce a grant program to support writing on folk and outsider art in America. Dorothea and Leo Rabkin were renowned and adventurous collectors in this field from the 1950s to the early 2000s. They were familiar figures to many of you. Others
have read about their support for museums, scholarly writing and exhibitions focused upon folk and outsider artists. We would like to encourage writing and publication on folk and outsider art, either as independent books and journal essays or as catalogues accompanying exhibitions. These cannot be the publications of commercial galleries.

The Rabkin Foundation grants can be used to support research, travel, writers’ fees, photography costs and production costs of publications. Our grant cycle deadlines and requirements are as follows:

-Two annual cycles and deadlines: December 1st; June 1st

-Grants announced: January 15; July 15

-Applicants must submit: A two-page description and summary of the topic and its relevance to the fields of American folk and outsider art.
A no more than two-page curriculum vita describing the qualifications and previous publications by the principal investigators.

-Until further notice we can only give awards to 501C-3 non-profit designated applicants.  In the future we hope to be able to award to individual writers and researchers.

Rabkin Foundation grants are to be used to further writing and publications. They are not intended for general exhibition support. We welcome proposals that feature folk and outsider artists in broader projects where they are part of a spectrum of artists, historical or contemporary.

Each cycle we anticipate funding several grants in the range of $5,000-$10,000. Our jury will decide solely upon the merits of individual proposals and may choose to fund fewer or more in a given grant cycle. Winners will be required to submit a progress report and final report on the funded project.

We hope to add to the ongoing vitality of this important area of American art. We look forward to receiving and reading your proposals. Further information can be found on the foundation’s website: www.rabkinfoundation.org

Best wishes,

Nancy Karlins Thoman, President, & Susan C. Larsen, Executive Director 

On the left: LOUIS MONZA, Lady Liberty, 1945, Oil on Canvas, Born, Turate, Italy; Died, Redondo Beach, CA, Active in NYC to 1948, from the Rabkin Collection