The Foundation Overview


The Joan Mitchell Foundation celebrates the life of abstract artist Joan Mitchell by expanding awareness of her pioneering work and fulfilling her wish to support and provide opportunities for visual artists. Through grants, residencies, and related initiatives, the Foundation advances the work of today’s artists and amplifies their essential contributions to communities around the world.

The Joan Mitchell Foundation is both a model for how resources can be offered to artists, and an advocate for the value of artists. The impact the Foundation seeks to have is to help to create a world in which the following conditions exist:
  • Artists are valued and thriving
  • The visual artists who are recognized in contemporary culture reflect and represent the diverse world in which we live
  • A comprehensible and comprehensive set of systems provide resources for artists’ lives and careers

The Joan Mitchell Foundation is:
  • Artist-centered
  • Diverse in demographics and perspectives
  • Responsive
  • Comprehensive
  • Sustainable


Established in 1993, the Joan Mitchell Foundation is an artist-endowed non-profit organization. Our above mission and values are activated through a varied range of programming.

The Foundation includes the promotion and preservation of Joan Mitchell’s legacy as part of its mission. To fulfill this, the Foundation provides loans of Joan Mitchell artworks from its collection to museums, academic institutions and other non-profit arts spaces. The Foundation's archives house Mitchell's papers, including correspondence, photographs, and other archival materials related to her life and work.

Housed at the offices of the Joan Mitchell Foundation, our archives are open to all qualified researchers. Additionally, Foundation staff are available to answer reference questions and direct individuals to works by Joan Mitchell in museum collections. Staff also create educational materials to complement exhibitions and provide useful age appropriate materials for art educators.

The Joan Mitchell Catalogue Raisonné, established in 2015 and supported by the Joan Mitchell Foundation, is currently researching Joan Mitchell’s paintings in preparation of a catalogue raisonné. This will be a scholarly publication documenting all of the artist’s painted work, including entries for each painting with complete descriptive information and detailed histories of ownership, exhibitions, and literature.

The Foundation awards grants directly to individual artists through its Painters & Sculptors, Emerging Artist, and Emergency Grant programs: since 1994 the Foundation has awarded grants to nearly one thousand individual artists. From 2007–2016, the Foundation provided direct funding to over one hundred arts organizations supporting visual artists in their respective communities, and currently collaborates with a number of community partners to support artists through professional development and other enriching opportunities.

Artist support is further provided by the Creating a Living Legacy (CALL) program, begun in 2006, which provides support to older artists in creating a comprehensive documentation of their careers. The CALL program has developed new ways to support mature artists through a range of tools, including the CALL Database, comprehensive resource workbooks, and by training emerging artists as Legacy Specialists.

The Joan Mitchell Center is an artist residency center founded in 2010 in New Orleans, which offers both time and space for artists to create work in a contemplative environment. In addition to the Artist-in-Residence Program, which began in 2013, the Center curates and produces public programming that serves the broader community of New Orleans, and endeavors to serve as an incubator, conduit, and resource for partnerships in the arts.

From 1997–2016, the Foundation’s Art Education program provided free opportunities for both emerging youth and young adult artists through inclusive and diverse arts education programming, while supporting the artistic development of working painters and sculptors through teaching opportunities, and professional development training. The Foundation is not currently offering any studio or portfolio development classes, as we undertake a period of focused research and pilot innovative educational opportunities for the artist community. One such pilot program is the Joan Mitchell Foundation Alumni Council, which works with our art education program alumni (ages 18-25) to provide professional development, community involvement, and leadership opportunities.

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