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Allison J. Cywin of the Visual Resource Center at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth sent the following email on June 15, 2015.

Govenor proposes closure of the Illnois State Museum

I thought I would share the following concern.  The Govenor of Illnois wants to closed the state museum. http://northernpublicradio.org/post/rauner-moves-forward-state-facility-closure-plans Please express your concerns and sign the petition (http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/governor-rauner-dont.fb48?source=s.icn.fb&r_by=5646051)
to  support the museum.
and spread the news.

Filed under: Advocacy, Museums and Galleries — Tags:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Letter

posted by April 15, 2015

CAA sent the following letter on April 9, 2015.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Letter

Daniel Ashe, Director
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1849 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20240

Dear Mr. Ashe:

We are writing on behalf of the 11,000 art historians, curators, artists and conservators who comprise the membership of the College Art Association, a learned society for higher education professionals in the visual arts, regarding the changes suggested by the Association of Art Museum Directors to the proposed regulations, “Endangered Species Listed Objects and Objects with African Elephant Ivory (“Objects”).

CAA supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s and the Association of Art Museum Directors’ efforts to end the poaching of elephant tusks throughout Africa and to end the commercial gain from these slaughters. At the same time we also understand the difficulties that import and export regulations impose on museums, collectors and conservators to traveling exhibitions, loans of individual art works, bequests of works of art, donations of art works and importation of art objects that contain ivory.

We support the Association of Art Museum Director’s suggested changes and respectfully request that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife adopt these changes to the Endangered Species Listed Objects and Objects with African Elephant Ivory.

Sincerely yours,

DeWitt Godfrey, CAA President

Linda Downs, Executive Director

Cc: Judith McHale
Chair Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking
c/o Cane Investments, LLC
3 West Main St.
Suite 101-1
Irvington, NY 10533

Report from Museums Advocacy Day 2015

posted by March 10, 2015

Elizabeth Schlatter is deputy director and curator of exhibitions for the University of Richmond Museums and outgoing chair of CAA’s Museum Committee.

On Tuesday, February 24, the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) held the seventh annual Museums Advocacy Day, in which representatives from all types of museums and arts organizations from across the country meet with congressional representatives to promote museums’ contributions to society and to discuss specific initiatives affecting their impact. This year, CAA sponsored a Museum Committee member to attend the event, so I was able to join fellow museum professionals in this important and surprisingly fun activity.

Monday, February 23, was dedicated to all-day training, which included presentations on the three main initiatives that we were to focus on during our discussions on Capitol Hill, as well as a panel Q&A with representatives from several federal funding agencies, including the usual “alphabet soup” of the NEA, NEH, IMLS, NSF, and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs from the US State Department. The main takeaway from that discussion was to always contact these federal agencies when applying for a grant or program, as their staffs are there to help you through the process. Another activity was a fantastic presentation on the “Art of the Ask” by Dan Yaeger, executive director of the New England Museum Association. As a lobbying newbie, I attended a talk by Stephanie Vance (a.k.a. the Advocacy Guru) on the nuts and bolts of lobbying on the Hill. Helpful tips included:

  • Be respectful to everyone you meet, even if it’s a twenty-one-year-old staff member and not your congressperson. These staff members truly affect how the representatives work and vote
  • Prepare an elevator speech and connect it to the representative’s personal interests or platform
  • If you have an appointment with a congressperson whose views you oppose personally, remember that when they meet with you, you are at the very least taking up their valuable time (an amusing and helpful tip!)

The afternoon consisted of reviewing the main issues that AAM was emphasizing this year:

  • Supporting fully authorized funding of $38.6 million in fiscal year 2016 for the IMLS’s Office of Museum Services
  • Opposing any proposals that would limit the scope or value of the tax deduction for charitable donations
  • Supporting the Artist-Museum Partnership Act, which would allow artists to claim a tax deduction of the fair market value of their work when donated to a charity
  • Supporting partnerships between museums and schools
  • Allowing museums be to eligible to compete for funding as part of a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act

AAM’s staff and presenters assured us that we need not be experts on these subjects but rather should use our congressional meetings to offer personal stories that demonstrate how museums are vital to the fabric of society and explain how the issues stated above will help museums continue this good work.

On Tuesday, we were fed a great breakfast, then all broke up to attend appointments that AAM set up for us across the Hill. I attended these meetings representing both CAA and my own institution in Virginia, so I met with Senator Tim Kaine (VA), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Representative Louise Slaughter (NY), Representative Bobby Scott (VA), and Representative David Brat (VA).

I was with a group of about ten to fifteen fellow museum and arts folks for the first two appointments, and for the last three I was one of only two or three people. In addition to the issues mentioned above, I was able to talk about my museum, about university museums in general, and, of course, about CAA, including the recently issued fair-use guidelines. In general, the congressional staffers I met were gracious and knowledgeable—and I even got a photo op with a representative for my Facebook page. I was surprised and terribly grateful by how well AAM organized the event, how well they prepared us for the meetings, and how kind all the staff on the Hill were.

One of the things AAM pushed during training was that advocacy should continue beyond just that day, so I sent thank-you notes later that week. I’ve also been in touch with the two House Representative offices in Virginia to invite the congressmen and their staffs to visit our museums. Finally, my fellow advocates and I offered ourselves as resources on issues related to museums and the arts. All in all, Museums Advocacy Day was a fantastic experience to see and engage Congress in person, to meet colleagues with shared interests, and to spread the good word about museums and CAA.

CAA abhors the senseless destruction of ancient Assyrian sculpture that was publicized today.  The Assyrians created sophisticated monumental sculpture that reflected their unique form of government, fostered urban development projects of palaces, temples and markets, built a prosperous economy and promoted reading and writing in cuneiform. The monumental works from this extraordinary ancient civilization had been preserved for over 2,500 years in one of the most important collections of Middle Eastern art, the Mosul Museum. CAA calls upon the Iraq and United States government as well as the ICOMOS, the World Monuments Fund and other international organizations to adhere to Hague Convention (1954), in concert with the public and the scholarly community, to develop and implement programs to protect ancient sites, monuments, antiquities, and cultural institutions in the case of war.

DeWitt Godfrey, CAA President
Linda Downs, Executive Director

In a letter sent to Linda Downs and DeWitt Godfrey on February 9, 2015, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) expressed its support of CAA’s newly published Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts.

Christine Anagnos, AAMD executive director, and Susan Taylor, AAMD president and Montine McDaniel Freeman Director of the New Orleans Museum of Art in Louisinan, write: “AAMD believes the code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts is an excellent contribution to the field and a great point of departure for best practices in the fair use of copyrighted materials. We are thankful to those who helped to develop the guide over the past two years and recognize the hard work of Peter Jaszi and Patricia Aufderheide.”

CAA endorses the Association of Art Museum Directors sanction against the Delaware Art Museum for selling an object from their permanent collection to address financial challenges. The work in question is William Holman Hunt’s  Isabella and the Pot of Basil (1868) sold at Christie’s this week for a final hammer price of $4.25 million, half the amount estimated.

The sanction will result in the Delaware Art Museum not receiving loans of works of art from the AAMD member museums: http://galleristny.com/2014/06/aamd-sanctions-delaware-art-museum/. This sale is unethical and a breach of fiduciary responsibility according to the collection policies of Association of American Museums, AAMD and CAA. Museum collections are held in the public trust, and proceeds of sales of works from permanent collections are to be used for future growth of collections.

Image: William Holman Hunt, Isabella and the Pot of Basil, 1868, oil on canvas, 74 x 46 in. (artwork in the public domain)

The American Alliance of Museums sent the following email on March 25, 2014.

Office of Museum Services Funding Letters–Deadlines Extended to Friday, March 28

Important Update: The deadlines for legislators to sign the Tonko/Lance/Slaughter/Grimm and Gillibrand/Blunt Office of Museum Services appropriations letters have been extended until THIS FRIDAY, MARCH 28. We need to redouble our efforts in the next few days to make sure every Representative and Senator hears from the museums they represent, asking them to sign on to these important funding letters.

As we have shared in recent Alliance Advocacy Alerts, these six champions are circulating letters among their colleagues in the House and Senate in support of funding for museums nationwide through the Office of Museum Services (OMS) at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Current HOUSE Letter Signers: Tonko (NY), Lance (NJ), Slaughter (NY), Grimm (NY), Titus (NV), Yarmuth (KY), Pocan (WI), Sablan (MP), McGovern (MA), Ruppersberger (MD), Levin (MI), Tsongas (MA), Clarke (NY), Danny Davis (IL), Hastings (FL), Schneider (IL), Neal (MA), Lofgren (CA), Blumenauer (OR), Pingree (ME), Michaud (ME), Tierney (MA), Braley (IA), McNerney (CA), Norton (DC), Rangel (NY), Cicilline (RI), Christensen (VI), Langevin (RI), Swalwell (CA), Shea-Porter (NH), McCollum (MN), Holt (NJ), Deutch (FL), Moran (VA), Grijalva (AZ), Wilson (FL), Luján (NM), Bonamici (OR), Gutierrez (IL), Higgins (NY), Lipinski (IL), Matsui (CA), Loretta Sanchez (CA), McKinley (WV), Courtney (CT), Cummings (MD), Carson (IN), McDermott (WA), Beatty (OH), Schakowsky (IL), Doggett (TX), Hinojosa (AZ), Gabbard (HI), Clay (MO), Bishop (NY), Connolly (VA), Nadler (NY), Castor (FL), Ellison (MN), Pascrell (NJ), Johnson (GA), Kuster (NH), Capps (CA), Dingell (MI), Linda Sanchez (CA) and Payne (NJ)

Current SENATE Letter Signers: Gillibrand (NY), Blunt (MO), Hirono (HI), Coons (DE), Leahy (VT), Blumenthal (CT), Stabenow (MI), Schumer (NY), Johnson (SD), King (ME), Cardin (MD), Sanders (VT) and Heinrich (NM)

If any of your legislators are NOT yet on these lists, please contact your Representative and Senators TODAY and ask them to please sign the letter supporting museum funding through the Office of Museum Services. You can use our Legislator Look-Up to identify your Representative and Senators.

If they have already signed on, please say THANK YOU.

You can call the Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121) and ask to be connected to your legislators’ offices.

You can also thank them on Facebook and Twitter, and find your legislators’ Facebook pages and Twitter handles in their profiles in our online Directory.

Thank you for taking action on this important, and time-sensitive, issue!

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) sent the following email on March 19, 2014

Senate Museum Funding Push is Now Bipartisan; Tell Your Senators to Join the Effort

Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) are now circulating a bipartisan letter urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide robust funding in FY 2015 for the Office of Museum Services (OMS) at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This is the fifth year that Senator Gillibrand has led this effort, but the first time Senator Blunt will co-lead the letter.

The deadline for Senators to sign on to this letter is March 25, 2014.

The Office of Museum Services is receiving $30.1 million this year, well below its authorized level of $38.6 million. The Gillibrand/Blunt letter is your Senators’ chance to go on record in support of museum funding, so ask them to sign on today!

“Following visits from his constituents during Museums Advocacy Day, Senator Blunt decided to co-lead this letter with Senator Gillibrand, making it a bipartisan effort and demonstrating the value of our field-wide efforts in Washington, D.C.,” said Alliance President Ford W. Bell. “I applaud Senators Gillibrand and Blunt for their leadership in supporting museums nationwide. We are especially thrilled that Senator Blunt has joined the cause this year; museums in Missouri should be proud to have such a responsive museum champion in Congress.”

Last year, you contacted legislators in record numbers and you made a real difference: a record-breaking number of Senators signed the letter supporting funding for the IMLS Office of Museum Services. Keep that momentum going by contacting your Senators now.

Thank you for acting on this important issue!

AAMD Provenance Workshops

posted by February 25, 2014

The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) will cosponsor two provenance workshops this spring: one in Seattle, Washington, and another in Washington, DC.

Seattle

This workshop will be held on May 18, 2014, in conjunction with the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries’s annual conference in Seattle. The workshop will review best practices for conducting provenance research in art museums, with a focus on Nazi-era provenance, as well as issues pertaining to antiquities and cultural property. The session is geared to all levels of experience and can serve as a how-to and a refresher. The workshop leaders will discuss due diligence and the acquisition process, online research tools, and the handling of restitution claims. The workshop is limited to fifty participants; ample time will be allotted for Q&A.

Victoria Reed, curator for provenance at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Nancy H. Yeide, head of the Department of Curatorial Records at the National Gallery of Art, will conduct the half-day workshop, which will be held at the Hotel Deca in Seattle. Each participant will receive a copy of Yeide’s book Beyond the Dreams of Avarice: The Hermann Goering Collection (2009), which is the first biography to focus on Hermann Goering’s personal collection and provides the first opportunity since the war to look at the collection as a whole and evaluate its place within art collecting and politics. This carefully documented volume is critical to the clarification of provenances of the objects featured and brings to light pictures whose histories and whereabouts have been hidden for decades.

Registration is available at www.aamg-us.org/registration; scroll down to “Sunday Morning Workshops.”

Washington, DC

In cooperation with the National Archives and Records Administration, the Smithsonian Institution, and the American Alliance of Museums, AAMD will sponsor a workshop for advanced researchers following the success of a two-day, Nazi-era provenance seminar that was held in 2011. Taking place at the National Archives on June 17, 2014, this workshop is limited to thirty participants who are experienced researchers working in museums. The event will provide a hands-on workshop on using new and updated online provenance research resources. Registration will include a copy of Holocaust-Era Assets, a Finding Aid to Records at the National Archives at College Park.

Nancy H. Yeide, head of the Department of Curatorial Records at the National Gallery of Art, and Chris Naylor, director of textual records for the National Archives, will lead the one-day workshop, which will be accompanied by an introduction to new materials at the Archives of American Art led by Marisa Bourgoin, chief of reference services for the Archives of American Art, and Laurie Stein, senior provenance advisor for the Smithsonian Provenance Research Initiative.

The cosponsors for the DC seminar express grateful appreciation to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation for support to defray expenses for workshop participants.

To apply for registration go and to learn more about Kress grants, visit the AAMD website.

Filed under: Museums and Galleries, Workshops

The College Art Association endorses the deaccessioning policies of the American Association of Museums and Association of Art Museum Directors. These mandate that once a museum approves the serious step of a sale of works from its holdings, those proceeds be put toward the collection and not toward institutional operating costs. The recent sale of the George Bellows painting Men of the Docks from the Maier Museum at Randolph College violates these principles. CAA supports the AAMD censure of the Maier Museum at Randolph College and expresses its regret that Randolph College has compromised the educational and cultural mission of the museum by treating its collection as a fungible asset rather than as a vital part of the institution’s artistic heritage, held in trust for its students and the community.

Filed under: Advocacy, Museums and Galleries