Just in Time for the Holidays, Taft Museum's Duncanson Murals are Up for Adoption

Move over Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is upon us

Dec 2, 2019 at 4:14 pm
click to enlarge A few of the Duncanson murals as displayed in the Taft Museum of Art - Photo: Provided by the Taft Museum of Art
Photo: Provided by the Taft Museum of Art
A few of the Duncanson murals as displayed in the Taft Museum of Art

Ever wanted to adopt a mural? Now you can, thanks to Taft Museum of Art's newly launched crowd-funding initiative "Adopt-the-Murals Giving Challenge." Well, at least symbolically. (Sorry if your dream is to take home a chunk of wall to play catch in your backyard and read bedtime stories. If that's the case, I'm most definitely judging.) 

From Dec. 2-12, the Taft Museum is offering donors a chance to adopt their famed Duncanson murals; donations up to $5,000 will be matched by Cincinnati philanthropist Shannon Carter. The announcement comes on the eve of Giving Tuesday and is in partnership with the citywide Cincinnati Gives Challenge, a fundraising competition spearheaded by Cincinnati Magazine in which over 100 Queen City nonprofits participate to see who can raise the most money for their respective causes. 

“The Taft Museum of Art is elated to partner with Carter in developing an innovative approach to giving," says Jen Horvath, the Taft's director of development, in a release. "It is our mission to be forward-thinking in connecting with new audiences so they can help us ensure this national treasure lasts for generations to come.”

Over $35,000 in philanthropic support is on deck for Cincinnati Gives' top winners this year, according to the release.

Robert S. Duncanson painted the series of eight large-scale landscapes directly on the plaster walls of the art patron and horticulturist Nicholas Longworth's home between 1851 and 1852. They were covered by wallpaper after Longworth's death and restored before the Taft Museum of Art opened in 1932. Second to the Taft house itself, the murals — recognized as the most significant pre–Civil War domestic murals in the U.S. —  are one of the museum's largest pieces of art.  

The campaign comes just ahead of the Taft's 200th anniversary in 2020. It runs in a similar vein to its "Adopt-an-Artwork" program, which offers "Leadership Level" donors the chance to support the museum as a recognized donor. Carter, for example, annually adopts Rembrandt's "Portrait of a Man Rising from His Chair." 

Those who donate as part of the challenge will be recognized by the museum as the inaugural "Adopt-the-Murals Crowd-Funding Donors." 

The Taft Museum's monthly House Party — co-hosted by the Cincinnati Young Black Professionals — will end the challenge with a bang. Come out to explore the museum after-hours for free. You can also catch a sneak a peek at their forthcoming exhibition Journey to Freedom: Art Quilts by Cynthia Lockhart before it officially opens to the public Dec. 13.  

The Taft Museum of Art is located at 316 Pike St., Downtown.