$5 billion in insurance coverage supports American museums
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today announced the addition of a domestic component to the Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Program that will provide significant assistance to American museums while increasing opportunities for audiences to view great works of art. For the first time, exhibitions drawn from U.S. collections are eligible for indemnity coverage while on view in American museums. With the program's history of unqualified success in covering international exhibitions, it is expected that the domestic component will have an equally profound impact on American museums and the publics they serve.
Since 1975, the NEA has administered the Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Program on behalf of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities to reduce the costs of insurance for American museums exhibiting collections from abroad or loaning their objects for exhibitions in other countries. The indemnity agreements are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Treasury in the event of loss or damage. Because of this program, exhibition organizers, mostly non-profit museums, have been spared nearly $250 million in insurance premiums.
In December 2007, President Bush signed legislation amending the Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Act, to establish the domestic indemnity program. The statute authorizes a total amount of coverage available for all exhibitions taking placing at one time of $5 billion, with a maximum indemnity of $750 million for a single exhibition. The total value of an exhibition must be at least $75 million to be eligible for coverage. A sliding scale deductible, which applies per exhibition, is based on the dollar value of the coverage.
NEA Chairman Dana Gioia said, "It is difficult to overstate the importance of this $5 billion of domestic indemnity. It will save American museums millions of dollars in insurance and bring more great exhibitions to more communities than ever before."
The domestic program will operate parallel to the international program, with two application deadlines per year and review by an advisory panel of museum professionals, with final decisions made by the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Guidelines and applications for domestic indemnity are available at www.arts.gov/grants/apply/Indemnity/indemnityDomestic.html. The first deadline is September 8, 2008 for coverage beginning as early as December 1, 2008.
Over the last 33 years, the Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Program has helped make possible more than 900 exhibitions of treasures from collections worldwide while on view in this country. Since the program's inception, there have been virtually no claims. In fact, earlier this year, a recovered painting was sold at auction, netting the Treasury a payout of more than five times the original claim reimbursement.
Examples of indemnified exhibitions are Treasures of Tutankhamun at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), Dali's Optical Illusions at the Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford, CT), Louvre Atlanta at the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA), Treasures from the First Emperor of China at the Birmingham Museum of Art (AL), Tamayo: A Modern Icon Reinterpreted at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (CA).
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