The Gordon Parks Foundation supports and produces artistic and educational initiatives that advance the legacy and vision of Gordon Parks for social justice. Recognized as the most significant African American photographer of the 20th century, as well as an influential writer, composer, and filmmaker, Parks used the arts as a vehicle to further what he described as “the common search for a better life and a better world.” The Foundation was co-founded in 2006 by Parks with his longtime friend and editor at LIFE magazine, Philip B. Kunhardt, Jr., to preserve his creative work and support the next generation of artists advancing social justice.
Through scholarly exhibitions, publications, critical research projects, and public programs organized in collaboration with institutions internationally and at its exhibition space in Pleasantville, New York, The Gordon Parks Foundation provides access to, and deepens understanding of the work and legacy of Gordon Parks for artists, scholars, students, and the public. The artist’s archive of photographs, negatives, and contact sheets is a critical resource for scholars and curators in the development of academic research and institutional exhibitions.
Drawing inspiration from the pivotal role of a fellowship Parks received early in his career, the Foundation’s educational and grant-making initiatives are core to its mission and year-round activities. Through The Gordon Parks Foundation Scholarships and Prizes and The Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship, the Foundation provides vital support to artists and champions current and future generations of creatives whose work continues his legacy. These initiatives are made possible through The Gordon Parks Arts and Social Justice Fund, established by the Foundation in 2019.