North Carolina is a Great Art State!

"Visitors" a photo of the NCMA galleries by Jake Kitchener on Flickr (Creative Commons License)

“Visitors” a photo of the NCMA galleries by Jake Kitchener on Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I’m a little embarrassed to say that, before interviewing with UNC-Chapel Hill for the job I’m in now, I really had no idea that North Carolina was such a great state for the visual arts. North Carolina not only has art museums and galleries in every corner of the state, it’s home to one of the few state art museums in the country – the North Carolina Museum of Art. Of particular interest to our grant team was the NCMA’s focus on North Carolina artists, whose works are in regular rotation in its galleries and are permanently installed in its Museum Park.

Given our shared interest in the legacy of North Carolina art and artists, we were thrilled when the NCMA agreed to partner with us on the Learning From Artists’ Archives IMLS grant and to serve as a host for this important program for North Carolina artists. In his letter of support for our grant proposal to IMLS, John Coffey (Deputy Director of Art, NCMA) wrote:

“It is crucially important that the creative activities and production of artists be documented and preserved and the information made available to scholars and the public. In this way, art history is made.”

We couldn’t agree more!

Last month, our team met with Stacey Kirby (Conservation Technician) at the NCMA to kick-off planning for the NC artists’ studio archives outreach and training day to be held there on October 3rd, 2015. Stacey was a great host and jumped right in to help the team develop ideas for programming. As an accomplished artist in her own right, Stacey brings a valuable perspective to the group as someone who strives to document and preserve her own studio archives. Her experience and expertise as a conservation technician is also proving to be quite valuable. We had an interesting chat with Stacey about the role of artist interviews in the preservation and conservation of artworks.  If you are interested in this topic, I suggest you read the book “The artist interview: for conservation and presentation of contemporary art, guidelines and practice” (2012).

Colin and Stacey in the throws of program planning.

Colin and Stacey in the throes of program planning.

Kim, Denise, and Will hard at work developing program ideas.

Kim, Denise, and Will hard at work developing program ideas.

We anticipate a full-day of hands-on workshops and short presentations on a variety of helpful topics for artists including:

  • how to build an archiving process into your studio workflow
  • tips for documenting your techniques, materials, and processes
  • the value of oral histories and preservation interviews
  • digital preservation (e-mail, websites, images, and other digital files)
  • physical storage (artwork, paper files, etc.)
  • tips on placing your archives with an institution

The day we’re planning will be open to artists in North Carolina. Watch this website for a call for applications that will be posted in late June/early July.