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The Univerity's Institute for Contemporary Art received one of the most prestigious grants awarded to American museums last month for its excellence in all areas of programming and operation. Members of the ICA administration said earlier this week it intends to use the $75,000 award given by the Institute of Museum Services to augment its exhibition and education programs and to initiate a new marketing and promotional program. The IMS provides the only federal source of general operating suppport for museums in the United States. IMS Spokesperson Joyce Hubbard said last week that this is the greatest honor a museum can receive. "It is the highest grant for general operating support available," Hubbard said. The highly competitive IMS grants were given to 432 out of the 1390 institutions which applied for funding. Grants ranged from 10% of a recipient museum's operating budget to a maximum of $75,000. "It's a pretty involved application process," said ICA Director Patrick Murphy last week. "It looks at all aspects [of the museum]" The application process is stringent and the applicant museum must demostrate excellence in many areas including: exhibitions, collection care, management, development, and administration. The IMS funds are not restricted to a specific project or operation of the museum, allowing each institution to determine where the money is needed most. "Everyone is anxious about the economic climate and the ability to raise funds for their operations," Murphy added. "This helps set us up in a good situation." The IMS divides the applicants into three categories, depending on the size of the museum. The ICA is in the largest category, which Murphy said puts them, "up against a lot of competition." All of the applications are numerically graded in a complex manner. This year the IMS funded museums in which scored above 0.425 to a maximum of 1.2. The ICA scored a 0.9 on the rating scale. IMS award recipients are not guaranteed funding in years following their award, because panel reviewers change annually and museums are re-evaluated. The ICA last received the grant in 1988. Murphy said that with its new facility, a year-long education program, and increased commitment to the community, the ICA "could be in a good position to get this again in the future."

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