College Art Association

CAA News Today

The College Art Association (CAA) has been awarded a $132,600 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the development of Resources for Academic Art Museum Professionals (RAAMP), a free, publicly accessible website that will collect, store, and share resources for professionals in academic art museums. RAAMP will promote scholarship, advocacy, and discussion related to academic art museums and their contributions to the educational mission of their parent institutions. CAA and its Museum Committee will develop RAAMP and manage its peer-generated content with the assistance of project partners, which include the Association for Academic Museums and Galleries (AAMG) and the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC).

Linda Downs, CAA executive director, said, “The RAAMP project was initiated by the CAA Museum Committee members N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions, University of Richmond and Celka Straughn, Andrew W. Mellon Director of Academic Programs at the Spencer Museum of Art who recognized the professional needs of academic art museum to share resources in order to better integrate museum collections into interdisciplinary study through a social community system. CAA is excited about this important initiative that will provide a prototype for similar forums.”

“Through its College and University Art Museums program, the Mellon Foundation has been a long-term supporter of the integration of college and university art museums into the curriculum and research cultures of their host institutions,” said Mariët Westermann, vice president of the Mellon Foundation. “We are therefore pleased to provide a grant to CAA for the creation of an online repository and exchange hub that will further strengthen the collaboration between academic museums and their campus communities.”

RAAMP aims to strengthen the educational mission of academic museums and their parent institutions by providing a dynamic repository of resources, by functioning as a site for news and information, and by supporting public discussion through online forums. The anticipated primary users of RAAMP include academic museum staff: administrators, educators, curators, directors, and conservators. The site would also be a significant asset for university and college administrators, faculty and staff in art and art-history departments, undergraduate and graduate students, and scholars of academic museums. Because RAAMP’s content addresses particular demographic groups—higher education and the visual arts—that are also served by nonacademic museums, the project would be valuable to museum professionals from any institution or background.

RAAMP would specifically benefit users seeking publications, information, research, case studies, professional development, and networking opportunities. Support from the Mellon Foundation will help CAA to determine types of content that would be most beneficial to RAAMP’s audience and contributors, how best to deliver and share this content, and how to facilitate dialogue related to the project’s mission.

DeWitt Godfrey, CAA president and professor of art and art history at Colgate University, said, “This is an important step for the Association to strengthen ties with academic art museums throughout the United States.”

RAAMP was conceived during a 2013 CAA Annual Conference session organized by the Museum Committee, titled “The Position of Academic Programs in Campus Art Museums: What, Why, Who, and Where To?” Session attendees expressed the need to better and more efficiently share information, strategies, and best practices for communicating academic museums’ educational contributions to their parent institutions. Many museums have created innovative programs and practices to serve their campus communities and fully integrate their collections and activities into the academic mission of their college or university. Museums have also worked to apply quantitative and qualitative metrics for mission success.

Leading the project as principal investigators will be: N. Elizabeth Schlatter, deputy director and curator of exhibitions at the University of Richmond Museums in Virginia and a member of CAA’s Museum Committee; and Celka Straughn, Andrew W. Mellon Director of Academic Programs at the University of Kansas’s Spencer Museum of Art and a member of CAA’s Museum Committee. “We are excited to work with colleagues to further develop this accessible resource that reflects that many innovative activities happening at academic museums today. We hope it will serve academic art museums to promote collaboration and demonstrate their educational and scholarly contributions.”

About CAA

The College Art Association is dedicated to providing professional services and resources for artists, art historians, and students in the visual arts. CAA serves as an advocate and a resource for individuals and institutions nationally and internationally by offering forums to discuss the latest developments in the visual arts and art history through its Annual Conference, publications, exhibitions, website, and other programs, services, and events. CAA focuses on a wide range of advocacy issues, including education in the arts, freedom of expression, intellectual-property rights, cultural heritage and preservation, workforce topics in universities and museums, and access to networked information technologies. Representing its members’ professional needs since 1911, CAA is committed to the highest professional and ethical standards of scholarship, creativity, criticism, and teaching. Learn more about CAA at www.collegeart.org.

For more information please contact Nia Page, CAA director of membership, development, and marketing.