More Than Money
Issue #18

Art and Money

Table of Contents

“Anonymous Was A Woman”

The San Jose Mercury News reports that anonymous donors are working to fill funding holes left by budget cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts. In August, checks for $25,000 arrived in the mailboxes of ten women artists. The money came from a foundation called Anonymous Was a Woman, whose mission is to help redress perceived discrimination in the art world and help make up for the elimination of grants to individual artists from the NEA.

The Mercury News compares the founder of Anonymous Was A Women to John Beresford Tipton, the mysterious television philanthropist in the popular 1950s television series "The Millionaire." The paper reports that those who know the donor would say only that she is a woman who lives in New York and is an artist, though not a famous one. No one knew the source of her fortune or its extent. As a title for her foundation, she borrowed a line from Virginia Woolf's novel A Room of One's Own .

The Anonymous Was a Woman awards operate like the MacArthur Foundation "genius awards" in that artists do not apply for them but rather are nominated, usually without their knowledge. This is the second year that the foundation has awarded grants to female visual artists older than thirty who show creative promise and are at a critical juncture in their career.

-- Philanthropy Journal Alert , Vol. 2, No. 8, October 17, 1997

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