Adobe Expands Its Art World Footprint with New Multi-Million Dollar Museum Partnerships

The software company will fund arts education initiatives and support for emerging artists at institutions on both sides of the Atlantic.

Through new multi-year partnerships with Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, software company Adobe (ADBE) is expanding its influence in the art world.

People walk across NYC street in front of lit-up museum entrance
The MoMA’s main entrance on West 53rd Street. Noah Kalina/MoMA

Under its “Adobe x Museums” initiative announced yesterday (June 13), the company’s non-profit Adobe Foundation will funnel $4.1 million in grants to the two museums for an inaugural year of programming focused on educational outreach and artist residencies at both MoMA and Victoria & Albert. The partnerships will last between three to five years, with plans to incorporate other arts institutions in the future.

“Across the U.S., we’re seeing funding for art departments in schools decrease,” said Adobe in a statement, adding that 77 percent of New York public schools have seen declining financial support for the arts. At MoMA, funding from the software platform will triple the museum’s annual programming across New York City public schools to reach 50,000 students instead of its current capacity of 15,000. In addition to integrating arts education into school curriculums, MoMA’s partnership with Adobe will help support programming for students who are economically disadvantaged, disabled or non-English speakers.

“Adobe x Museums” will also establish a 2023 residency at MoMA for an emerging artist who will be given mentorship, studio space and an opportunity to display their work publicly at the museum.

In London, the Victoria & Albert’s collaboration with Adobe will fund an expansion of the museum’s existing residency program, which currently employs two part-time artists over six months. The grants from the company will be used to create three year-long and full-time residencies focused on costume design, global ceramics and illustration.

Educational programming will also be a priority at the U.K. institution, which said it will triple its engagement with schools, young visitors and families from 78,500 people in 2022 to 246,000 this year with the help of Adobe. “Social change in the arts is desperately needed and long overdue,” said Helen Charman, Director of Learning and National Programs at the Victoria & Albert, in a statement, adding that the Adobe partnership “marks the advent of a new era for the arts.”

How is Adobe connected to the art world?

This isn’t the first time the software company has engaged in projects or philanthropy centered on the arts. In 2006, Adobe partnered with the San Jose Public Art Program to commission an installation for its headquarters in San Jose, California, resulting in Ben Rubin’s San Jose Semaphore. The work put four glowing wheels atop Adobe’s Almaden Tower, which slowly turn to transmit data puzzles to the public, two of which have been solved since its inception. On May 11, the public artwork began transmitting its third message.

And in an ambitious venture that has since been shut down, Adobe launched an online museum of digital art in 2010 with its Adobe Museum of Digital Media. Through virtual “viewing pods,” online museumgoers could see works from artists like Tony Oursler, Mariko Mori and John Maeda. The software company has since focused on funding physical museums, such as the San Jose Museum of Art and India’s Museum of Art & Photography, in addition to awarding grants to artists from diverse backgrounds through a fund created by Adobe Stock, its photograph sourcing division.

Meanwhile, the residencies to be established by “Adobe x Museums” are an expansion of the company’s Creative Residency program, which was created in 2015 to help artists carry out personal projects. In 2022, the program also added a Community Fund to support creators through times of struggle, with its most recent iteration focused on artists impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Adobe Expands Its Art World Footprint with New Multi-Million Dollar Museum Partnerships