SPAM's mission is to pay tribute to the artists known collectively as the American modernists, which it does in several ways.
Through a grant-giving program, SPAM supports research, exhibitions, and publications about the American modernists, as well as about the history of public and private support for the arts in the United Statesfrom the WPA to the NEA.
This coupling of themes was inspired by the American modernist painter, Harold Weston (1894-1972), who painted murals for the New Deal arts projects in the 1930s and understood first-hand the importance of financial assistance for artists. Later, when he ran the National Council on the Arts and Government from 1954 to 1970, he fought doggedly for legislation small and great, from discount postage privileges for sheet music to the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts in 1965.
Weston's dual interests as an artist and humanitarian typify the modernist conflict. His humanitarian impulse grew from the modern belief that society could be improved in rational ways. Yet the artist in him reacted against the diminishing importance of the metaphysical. Many American modernists like Weston, consciously or unconsciously, rekindled awareness of the transcendent, spiritual, or Romantic in their art. Mediating between these forces of rationalism and idealism, Weston's career illuminates a dynamic that is important to understanding early modernism.
SPAM strives to honor artists like Weston by taking up these themes in a spirit of scholarship and discovery. For more on Weston visit the Harold Weston Foundation website, haroldweston.org.
From time to time SPAM undertakes other projects that pay tribute to the modernists, in accordance with its organizational mandate to instruct the public on subjects useful to the public.
Society for the Preservation of American Modernists, Inc.
was incorporated in New York State in 1993 and received 501(c)(3)
tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service in 1994.