posted by CAA — September 17, 2019
RAAMP (Resources for Academic Art Museum Professionals) Coffee Gatherings are monthly virtual chats aimed at giving participants an opportunity to informally discuss a topic that relates to their work as academic art museum professionals.
Coffee Gathering: Curatorial Work as Academic Labor
On Tuesday, September 24 at 3:00 PM (EST) RAAMP will be speaking with Meredith Lynn and Claire L. Kovacs.
To RSVP to this coffee gathering, please email Cali Buckley at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meredith Lynn is an artist, curator, and educator based in Tallahassee, Florida. In her art practice she frequently explores the historical, political, and social issues surrounding land management and ownership. Her curatorial specialty is contemporary art, with a particular focus in interactive and new media art. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Indiana Arts Commission, the Minnesota State Arts Board, Northern Lights, and the Florida Department of Cultural Affairs and most recently shown at the Morris Graves Museum of Art in Arcata, California and the Wiregrass Museum in Dothan, Alabama. She is curator of the Museum of Fine Arts at Florida State University where she also teaches in the Department of Art.
Claire L. Kovacs is the Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at Binghamton University. She obtained her PhD from the University of Iowa and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Case Western Reserve University – all in art history. She has curated exhibitions at the Figge Art Museum, Coe College, Krasl Art Center, DePaul University, and at Augustana College, where she was (until recently) the Director of the Augustana Teaching Museum of Art. Her strategies for curatorial work and programming emphasize the ways that academic museums explore contemporary issues, foster interdisciplinary inquiry, create space for a multiplicity of voices and perspectives, and function as a site of dynamic community engagement. She underscores intersectional equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion in her curatorial work. Her research practice grapples with ways that art historical research can support ‘The Common Good’ (to borrow a phrase from the NEH), using curatorial practice and writing as a mechanism by which to amplify under-told stories.
Submit to RAAMP
RAAMP (Resources for Academic Art Museum Professionals) aims to strengthen the educational mission of academic art museums by providing a publicly accessible repository of resources, online forums, and relevant news and information. Visit RAAMP to discover the newest resources and contribute.
RAAMP is a project of CAA with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Hunter O’Hanian in Conversation with Eric Segal, Director of Education and Curator of Academic Programs at the Harn Museum
posted by CAA — September 04, 2018
CAA’s executive director, Hunter O’Hanian, recently visited the Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Florida to speak with Eric Segal, the museum’s director of education and curator of academic programs, about the role of academic art museums and Resources for Academic Art Museum Professionals (RAAMP).
A project of CAA supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, RAAMP aims to strengthen the educational mission of academic museums and their parent organizations by providing a publicly accessible repository of resources, online forums, and relevant news and information.
Watch and read the interview below.
Hunter O’Hanian: Hello everybody. My name’s Hunter O’Hanian and I’m the director of the College Art Association. I’m very pleased today to be with Eric Segal, who is the director of education and curator of academic programs here at the Harn Museum in Gainesville, Florida. Hello, Eric. How are you?
Eric Segal: Hunter, I’m doing well. It’s great to have you here in Gainesville.
HO: Well, it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s been great to be spending time here and to go through the museum. Before we start, tell us a little bit about your background. I know you’ve been a CAA member since you were in graduate school, but tell us a little bit about your professional background.
ES: Sure. CAA since 1993.
ES: I actually started my college career as a computer engineering major. So, it was a big change when my sister made me take an art history class and that led me into art history, and I studied American art subsequently at UCLA, Masters.
HO: And, I think you won a Terra award, too.
ES: I was really fortunate to have a Terra award in 1999.
ES: And that was very exciting for me and helped me in my studies. Following the completion of my doctoral dissertation, I took an assistant professor position here at University of Florida. So, I was in the art history department teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in American art, African American art, illustration and even occasionally about museum theory. Later, in 2010, a position opened up in the museum where I was able to take on museum practice a bit more. That position was the academic programs position, which had just been created as the museum realized it was important to draw closer to the university. At that time, before the position opened up, there were perhaps a few dozen courses using the museum, because there was no one doing the outreach to work with faculty across campus.
Since that time, about 10 years, we’ve maybe increased that tenfold. The number of courses, the number of faculty, the number of disciplines and students using the museum—we’ve been really delighted to expand that quite a bit.
HO: That’s great. So, [the] University of Florida here in Gainesville, about 50,000 students here on campus.
HO: You have an art history department here. And do you have a studio arts department as well?
ES: It’s a combined school of art and art history and they’re both very robust. There’s a faculty of about seven in art history and the tens, twenties in art and they’re all great colleagues. In fact, in 2019 we will have the studio art faculty show here at the museum, which comes [around] every five years.
HO: Wonderful. So, the Harn Museum has been around since 1990. Roughly, how big is it? How many square feet is the facility?
ES: The museum is about 26,000 square feet.
HO: That’s big for an academic art museum.
ES: It is. We have all of our storage onsite. We have great galleries devoted to five collecting areas. We collect in African [art], in Asian [art], in photography, in modern and contemporary art. And we have a curator in each area. So, we’re very lucky. Many academic museums don’t have such a robust curatorial staff. And we also have classrooms where we can do teaching, where we can bring objects out from storage in order to connect with academic classes on campus if we have a theme we want to try to address, say, “urban imagery.” It may be better just with works that are in storage, rather than those that happen to be on view at a given time.
HO: And 11,000 objects in the collection?
ES: That’s right.
HO: Wow. And so how do you go about procuring objects for the collection?
ES: Right. So our curators are very active along with our development officer and our director in building relationships. So, we do have an endowment for acquisitions, but many of our acquisitions do come through gifts from donors, and that would be in all areas.
HO: I noticed too in going through the museum with you that you also have a fair number of Florida artists in your collection. Can you speak about some of them?
ES: We have Florida artists from the 19th century through the present. Some of them are former faculty at UF with international and national reputations, and some include folk artists who work locally and are widely collected and whose work reveals unexpected and inspiring perspectives on our own community. So, we have both highly-trained professional artists and amateur or untrained artists.
HO: It seems to me also that you’ve done a lot of work in your role as far as inviting members of the local Gainesville community, people who are not part of the academic campus on or into the museum through different programs. Can you talk generally about how you’ve been programming in trying to bring the local Gainesville community into the museum?
ES: Sure. So, as curator of academic programs, I obviously personally focus a lot on the academic community, but I’m also director of education as you mentioned, and I have a staff with whom I work to engage the community. I also consider that my responsibility as well. We have public programs that I think of as creating layers of access. There’s programs that are traditional museum programs of lectures and educational docent tours, which have immediate appeal to people who are familiar with museums and have a museum-going experience and know they might want to learn something about an exhibition, but we also have our whole range of activities that invite the community in perhaps for a first time. We’re creating museum goers out of our local citizenry.
So, those might be experiences that sound more fun and social, but include informal learning opportunities. We have a museum nights event once a month which is open in the evenings. So, lots of programs such as that, but we also think it’s really important to reach audiences that aren’t even looking at the museum as a possible venue for leisure or art experiences and we find it’s really effective to work with the local public schools. All children go to schools and we’re able to work with them to provide transportation and rich tour experiences and programs that engage children and parents as well. Creating the opportunity to connect with families that might not be thinking of the museum, but may learn from the children that it’s a really welcoming, relevant, and meaningful space.
HO: Overall for the whole museum, how big is the staff here?
ES: The staff, including security and frontline staff, is about fifty.
HO: Wow. Great.
ES: So, it’s pretty robust.
HO: And for academic programs and education, how big is that?
ES: In education, we have six full-time staff and a number of part-time staff who support programs and activities. So, we’re also very lucky. There are smaller museums that are working on a narrower range of staff resources.
HO: What challenges do you see for the education programs here at the Harn Museum going forward?
ES: Well, you did ask about our connecting with community audiences and our challenge is to continue to grow that and be relevant and to let audiences know that we are welcoming. We want to reach audiences that have not seen themselves in museums. So, diversity in our audiences is something we’ve done a lot to improve with by partnering with local groups, with activists, with people in different communities. We’ve done a lot to improve our diversity of audiences, but we’re still expanding there. In staff, that’s another area where we really need to work hard and we have focused part of our strategic plan extension into 2019 to focus on developing new ways to build diverse staff members across the museum, including in senior staff, which as we know in museums in the United States is a real problem.
HO: If you were speaking to someone else in your position, maybe in a more rural location or a smaller facility, and they wanted to engage the community more, what advice would you give them?
ES: That’s a great question. I think that it’s really important to let audiences know that they’re welcome and to my mind, the best way to get that message out there is by being out in the community, attending community fora on relevant topics, being part of discussions of education and educational resources, being part of discussions on how universities are trying to engage—the local university or college may be trying to engage the community, both on campus and in the community. Being a face in the community makes you somewhat approachable and starts to build the relationship that’s hard to build with an advertisement in the paper that says, “Everyone’s welcome. Admission is free”. Hopefully.
So, that would be one of the first steps that I think I would try in that position is to really be part of the community and to make contact with community leaders who already have authentic connections to different members of different areas of the community.
HO: We’re going to be recording some video practicum about different areas in the museum and we’ll get into some more of those details later, but it also seems as if you’ve developed good relationships with different departments within the college itself. Can you speak a little bit about doing that and how you go about being successful there?
ES: Some of our failures in doing that have been—not that I wouldn’t continue to do it—you know, I go and give a talk to the faculty senate and I send a letter to all faculty and I get a lot of emails back, if I’m lucky, that say, you know, I saw your email but I didn’t read it last year because you sent it to everyone. So, the hard work is making individual contacts either by email but also being out there again on campus. I try to serve on committees, be it in the international center or on undergraduate curriculum, wherever it might be useful, seeing that the museum could be a resource that can be built into emerging programs and projects. So, being at the table is important. And then building the individual connections to faculty. One faculty member in a language and literature department can be your ambassador to other faculty members.
HO: And, of course you’re familiar with RAAMP resources for academic art museum professionals, and the Harn has been one of the original stakeholders, and this has been a great project that CAA has worked on with the Mellon Foundation.
HO: We’ve been very happy with the success. As a resource out there, how have you been able to use RAAMP and also were there any changes you’d like to see to it or more things you’d like to see us add to it?
ES: Yes. RAAMP is a great resource. It’s been wonderful to see it grow and the website has, for anyone who hasn’t visited it recently, really been improved in the last year, making it searchable in a way that it wasn’t before. So, it’s a resource where you can actually find the materials that are there pretty easily now and that makes it especially useful. So, for me, it’s been great as a source of inspiration when I come up against a problem such as “How do I…?” I haven’t found this one yet, but one of my problems is how do I connect with low temperature physics? I’ve never solved that problem, but when someone posts that to RAMP, that’s where I’m going find it.
HO: Great. So, for any of you out there who have an answer to that quick question as to how to deal with low temperature physics, please post it on RAAMP now.
ES: That’s right. But, it’s really a great source of inspiration [for] problem solving and models that exist out there. It’s also I think increasingly going to continue to serve the role of [a] point for conversations, which is something that I’m really looking forward to, because sometimes someone hasn’t posted on low temperature physics, but they may have already done it. And so it’s a chance to get feedback and ideas. I’m also really looking forward to in the future ideas about building diversity, as we discussed earlier. How it’s being pursued at other museums, both in terms of audiences but also in terms of staff. I think as a community academic program officers in museums need to come together to build the pipeline of museum professionals. That includes recruiting students when they’re young. I’ve been working with high school students in the past week to just tell them that museums are a career and that’s important.
It includes supporting internships. I think that discussion can happen in RAAMP about how we can sort of strategically create a pool that we’re all going draw on to diversify our staff. I’m also looking forward to learning from RAAMP more about ideas for academic programs working with development offices.
HO: Interesting. The fundraising piece.
ES: Yes. The fundraising piece. We’re all challenged in our budgets. In the past year, we’ve developed a program on early learning that we built with the college of education, and we built a really robust project, and someone said: “You need to do a video for this.” And that video has been helpful for us in developing private funds to continue to pursue this program that provides education for headstart students.
HO: Which is great, because it gives potential funders the opportunity to see what the programs are really about and be able to see that.
ES: It is. And that’s the kind of thing I’d love to share on RAAMP and also learn from others their strategies for taking our programs and having them be tools for building our funding.
HO: Yes. I’ve been recently reviewing the session proposals for the upcoming CAA conference in New York in February of 2019 and there are a lot of sessions that are coming up for professionals in academic art museums, because I do think it’s a growing field that a lot of PhD students or PhD holders and Masters will be going into it in the future. So, there will be a lot at this year’s conference in February.
ES: That’s really great to hear. And I hope that non-museum professionals, hope that artists and art historians will attend those as well, because their voices are really useful to be part of those conversations that art museum professionals are having. I was thinking about the sort of professionalization that another area of RAAMP is going help us connect on is going to be evaluation. Museums are always challenged in terms of evaluation. We know it’s important to prove that what we do is effective. Evaluation is time-consuming or expensive or both, and sharing expertise and ideas in that area I think is going to be something that’s going to really help us to build our case in the future.
HO: Yes, I mean, ultimately all museums are educational institutions, and we have to be able to quantify how that happened.
ES: I think that is the case.
HO: Eric, thank you so much for your time here. It’s been great to tour the museum and I really have appreciated it. And so good luck with all your work going forward.
ES: Thank you, Hunter, for sharing your interest of the museum with our RAAMP audiences.
posted by CAA — August 15, 2018
RAAMP (Resources for Academic Art Museum Professionals) aims to strengthen the educational mission of academic art museums by providing a publicly accessible repository of resources, online forums, and relevant news and information.
With new resources added daily, we welcome contributions to our online archive. Resources can include but are not limited to: museum strategic plans; campaigns for outreach to campus communities; news and announcements about new programs, exhibitions, or staff appointments; and strategies for diversity and inclusion in the academic art museum. You may also provide tips on funding opportunities, exhibition design guidelines, advocacy, and more.
Visit RAAMP to discover our newest resources, and click here to contribute.
RAAMP is a project of CAA with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
CAA’s RAAMP project is an online repository for resources pertaining to museum professionals at university art collections. One of RAAMP’s newest resources is Descriptive Terminology for Works of Art on Paper, developed in 2014 by the conservation team at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This document provides “guidelines,” as its subtitle suggests, “for the accurate and consistent description of the materials and techniques of drawings, prints, and collages.” The Terminology was supported by the federally funded agency the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which recently partnered with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to create a Digital Humanities Advancement grant-making program. The Association of Print Scholars, one of CAA’s Affiliated Societies, has promoted this resource as an especially refined and technical manual to characterize the processes of manufacturing an array of works. Its riches include the diversity of drawing media and their distinctions, as in “distinguishing black chalk from graphite and charcoal.” Other areas include the categories of print varieties and their processes, such as relief, intaglio, and planographic prints.
Early next week, staff members from CAA will be attending Arts Advocacy Day and Humanities Advocacy Day in Washington, DC.
March 12 – March 13, 2018
Hosted by Americans for the Arts
Arts advocates from across the country convene in Washington, DC for Americans for the Arts’s annual Arts Advocacy Day each year. Arts Advocacy Day brings together a broad cross section of America’s cultural and civic organizations, along with more than 700 grassroots advocates from across the country, to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts. Learn more.
March 11 – March 13, 2018
Hosted by National Alliance for the Humanities
Humanities Advocacy Day provides the opportunity to connect with a growing number of humanities advocates from around the country. Together, advocates will explore approaches to year-round advocacy on college campuses and in local communities while also preparing for Capitol Hill visits. On March 13, they will visit House and Senate offices to make a persuasive case for federal funding for the humanities. Learn more.
WHY IS CAA ATTENDING?
For two years in a row, we’ve offered our complete and total opposition to efforts to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and other domestic programs that fund education, arts, and humanities initiatives, as outlined in the 2018 and 2019 White House budget proposals.
Over the last year, we’ve also solicited feedback from our members on a variety of issues that impact the arts, humanities, and higher education, including:
- Gun control and the proposal to arm teachers
- Tax reform and its effect on higher education
- Embracing and supporting diverse voices in the arts
- Hiring standards for part-time faculty
- Removing or preserving Confederate monuments
- The Muslim Travel Ban
For more on our advocacy efforts, click here.
We encourage you to be vocal about your support for the arts and humanities next week (and beyond!). Click here to access the CAA Arts and Humanities Advocacy Toolkit.
posted by CAA — January 24, 2018
CAA, the largest professional organization of visual artists and art historians, was disappointed to learn that La Salle University in Philadelphia plans to sell part of its art collection at the university’s museum. The university is currently planning to sell 46 works of art at a Christies’s auction estimated to bring in between $4.8 and $7.3 million. The university states that the proceeds from the sale will be “invested in the future of our university to help grow and to be financially sustainable. More importantly, we are really looking to enhance student experience and student outcome.” A university spokesperson further points out that the decision to deaccession the works was the result of months of careful consideration by its Board of Trustees, which examined all of the university’s assets and made a decision that select artworks from their art museum could be reallocated for funding the university’s new strategic five-year plan. Read the Artnet News story about the deaccession.
Similar to other cultural professional organizations, CAA has set guidelines for conditions under which items in museums collections are to be divested or deaccessioned. CAA Executive Director Hunter O’Hanian said, “We join our colleagues from the American Alliance of Museums and Association of Art Museum Directors in questioning this sale. CAA’s guidelines make it clear that art held by museums is not to be considered ‘an asset’ in the traditional sense. Museums should sell work from their collection only under very limited circumstances. And best practices dictate that the sale of the proceeds should only be used to acquire new works of art. We hope that the university Board of Trustees rethinks this position about selling the works that it holds in public trust.”
posted by CAA — December 12, 2017
Given the spirited discussion taking place on a number of curatorial listservs and websites, RAAMP (Resources for Academic Art Museum Professionals) invites submissions to add to its publicly accessible online archive for individuals working in academic art museums.
Examples include museum strategic plans, campaigns for outreach to campus communities, and strategies for diversity and inclusion in the academic art museum, and include PDFs, links, videos, and more.
You can also browse the existing resources, submit updates, or join the conversation on Humanities Commons.
What is RAAMP?
RAAMP serves to promote scholarship, advocacy, and discussion related to the role of academic art museums and their contribution to the educational mission of their parent institutions. To this end, it functions as a publicly accessible online repository; it collects, stores, and shares resources.
RAAMP is a project of the CAA with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
As we celebrate the spirit of generosity on #GivingTuesday, we’re highlighting LA-based organizations to consider giving to alongside CAA.
We thank you for your support!
COLLEGE ART ASSOCIATION
This past year, we fought for the causes of our members and those in the arts and culture field at large. Your contribution helps to ensure that CAA continues our mission in promoting the visual arts and their understanding through advocacy, intellectual engagement, and a commitment to the diversity of practices and practitioners. The larger our voice, the larger the impact we will have.
18TH STREET ARTS CENTER
One of our recommended 2018 conference stops, the 18th Street Arts Center is one of the top twenty artist residency programs in the US. They value art-making as an essential component of a vibrant, just, and healthy society where the creative process is just as important as the outcome.
MUSEUM OF LATIN AMERICAN ART (MOLAA)
Another one of our 2018 conference stops, the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) is the only museum in the United States dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American art, and serves the greater Los Angeles area.
PROMESA BOYLE HEIGHTS
Promesa Boyle Heights is a collective of residents, youth, schools, and community organizations united in lifting community voices and working together to transform conditions and improve opportunities for students and families in Los Angeles.
posted by CAA — July 13, 2017
In its June 2017 issue, The Art Bulletin is publishing reviews of six online collection catalogs issued by the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; the Seattle Art Museum; the Arthur M. Sackler and Freer Gallery of Art, Washington DC; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Tate, United Kingdom; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. This is the first time the quarterly journal has devoted its reviews section to digital scholarship.
Stephen H. Whiteman’s review of the Seattle Art Museum’s Chinese Painting & Calligraphy catalog is available now in an enhanced digital version, published on the Scalar platform and developed in collaboration with Nancy Um and Lauren Cesiro. The open-access project is at http://scalar.usc.edu/works/samosci/index.
On Friday, March 24, the University of Richmond Museums, Virginia, hosted a CAA Fair Use Workshop, co-sponsored with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Statewide Program, and made possible with a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Elizabeth Schlatter, CAA Vice President for the Annual Conference, and Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions at the University of Richmond Museums, led the planning effort to bring over 40 artists, museum professionals, archivists, professors, librarians, and communications experts to the daylong workshop.
The program was led by Hunter O’Hanian, CAA’s Executive Director, and Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law at American University, and one of the two lead principal investigators on the project. After a round of introductions by attendees, Jaszi began the day with an introduction to the doctrine of fair use, followed by a presentation by O’Hanian about CAA’s four-year fair use initiative and the methodology employed to develop the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts. The workshop continued with a focus on fair use in art museums, including when it can be invoked in exhibition projects, publishing, and online activities. During a working lunch, Jaszi and O’Hanian led discussions on reliance on fair use in teaching, publishing, and making art, and concluded the day with a discussion about fair use in libraries and archives.
Catherine G. OBrion, the Librarian-Archivist at the Virginia State Law Library, wrote afterwards, “I have a much better understanding of the legal standing of fair use, its intent, and how I can defend relying on it to my in-house counsel and others….One of the most useful workshops I’ve attended.” The workshop was followed by a reception at the University Museums for all CAA members in the local area.
CAA executive director O’Hanian also met with two University of Richmond classes the day before, one a museum studies seminar and the other a class on contemporary art and theory. The undergraduates benefited from O’Hanian’s advice on curating exhibitions, organizing public programs, surviving and thriving as a visual artist, and applying for artists’ residency programs.