A nonprofit organization, Art21's mission is to increase knowledge of contemporary art, ignite discussion, and inspire creative thinking by documenting artists at work and in their own words.
Contemporary American visual art makes an important contribution to our national culture, bringing economic and intellectual vitality to our urban centers and throughout our country, yet there is insufficient public understanding of who our artists are, what they do, and how their works participate in a global dialogue concerning larger social and philosophical issues. Art21 has dramatically changed this situation by introducing an ever-growing national, and increasingly international, audience to innovative artists from diverse geographic, ethnic, cultural, and artistic backgrounds.
Art21's Emmy-nominated PBS series Art:21 — Art in the Twenty-First Century is an educational resource, a valuable archive, and a living history of contemporary art — a body of work with value far beyond its initial broadcast. Art21 illuminates the creative process for students, teachers, and the general public by producing films and videos, books, curricular resources, screening-based public programs, and web-based videos and multimedia content, as well as a growing film and video archive featuring a diverse selection of visual artists working in the United States today.
What makes Art21 a bold new endeavor is not only the caliber of the artists featured, but the media in which they are presented. The accessibility of television and the Internet makes it possible to reach a large audience: a broadcast of a single one-hour PBS arts program reaches more people in one night than attend major art institutions in an entire year. The companion website to Art21’s PBS series — www.pbs.org/art21 — currently receives more than 9.5 million annual visitors.