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The abstract pigeon sculpture stands eight feet tall. But the bird isn’t just a pigeon but a passenger pigeon, a species that has literally disappeared because humans hunted it to extinction. The work, created by contemporary sculptor Tom Queoff, is intended to honor the Milwaukee Public Museum, an institution whose mission is to preserve and protect cultural and natural diversity (and has an actual taxidermy passenger pigeon among its own exhibits).
It’s one of 25 pieces that include paintings, photography, and mixed-media art, each of which honors a separate nonprofit that’s been supported by the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the same-named financial firm. Together, the pieces are part of a free exhibit called the Giving Gallery, which is currently on at Northwestern Mutual’s headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Over the past 25 years, the Northwestern Mutual Foundation has contributed more than $320 million toward two goals: It works nationally to help cure childhood cancer, and locally to support organizations that make Milwaukee a better community for kids to live.
More funders are thinking up creative ways to use the medium. In June 2017, philanthropist and renowned art collector Agnes Gund leveraged an existing prize work a different way–by selling it to enable the $100 million Art For Social Justice Fund that will be administered toward related cause work by the Ford Foundation.
Read the full article about art as philanthropy by Ben Paynter at Fast Company.