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Figge Art Museum Focuses on Diversity

the Figge Art Museum in downtown Davenport
Figge Art Museum
the Figge Art Museum in downtown Davenport

Some generous local residents will help the Figge Art Museum in Davenport with its efforts to diversify its collection.

Thursday night, the museum announced the creation of the Art Diversity and Equity Fund, with a lead gift from Jim and Michelle Russell of Davenport.

Executive Director and CEO Michelle Hargrave says the Figge has been working hard in recent years to make its collection more representative of this community.

"When I was studying art history, my textbooks focused primarily on white, male artists with a few mentions of artists like Frida Kahlo and others. So there has been a shift in emphasis and people are now recognizing artists who've been long neglected from the art historical canon."

Last year, the museum spent most of its acquisition budget on female and non-white artists, but she says to make a real difference, the Figge needs a much bigger budget to buy new works.

It's already increased the number of works by women, from four per cent to more than 10 per cent.

"And we are committed to continuing to increase the number of women artists in our collection, as well as artists of color, and artists of other marginalized communities."

Starting with the Russell's gift of 20,000 dollars, Hargrave says her goal is to raise a total of 100,000 dollars this year for the Art Diversity and Equity Fund.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.