“Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses, especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else” and “only through experimentation can we know anything.”
--Leonardo Da Vinci
Those words are just as relevant today for artists and scientists as when they were first written by Da Vinci. Although scientists and artists go about their work in different ways and with different objectives, there are common elements that involve observation, experimentation and the creative process. And it is the product of these common elements that link science and art by providing knowledge about the world we live in. There is a difference, however, in the knowledge that is acquired. Art illuminates and reveals truths perceptively, as opposed to the explicit truths of science. Art reveals moral knowledge whereas science reveals propositional knowledge.
The Richard J. Massey Foundation for the Arts and Sciences was established in 2004 based on my own background in medical research and interest in the scientific and artist process, the common threads of the creative process and work that is created. Touchstones for my Foundation were Leonardo Da Vinci’s thoughts about science, art, observation, experimentation and knowledge. He personified this relationship between art and science; an artist whose paintings and drawings were closely tied to observations and his own scientific investigations. He observed the human body by carefully studying anatomy so that he could create images of the human form. Da Vinci believed that the meaning of his narrative paintings would only emerge through careful investigations.
The mission of the Foundation is to fund projects by artists and scientists that illuminate and reveal truths and provide knowledge about the world we live in. Funded projects have included opera, public art projects, artist residencies, scientific fellowships and numerous medical research projects, performance art, films, publications, modern dance commissions, and museum shows for artists.
The Foundation’s mission is also accomplished by funding projects by scientists and artists at other organizations including the New York Stem Cell Foundation, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Opera, the Karole Armitage Gone! Dance Foundation, Art in General, the University of Illinois Chicago College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the King Baudouin Foundation and the Florence Academy of Art.
In 2008 the Foundation established the “Ida Appelbroog Award” in honor of the artist. The award is administered by Cooper Union College. This gift is intended to further the Foundation’s commitment to important, under-recognized artists and to be a prestigious resource for the emerging artistic community.
In 2011 the Foundation established the “Arts and Humanities Award” that is administered by the Whitebox Art Center. The first two recipients were Ai Wei Wei and Martha Wilson.