CAA News Today

From left to right: Natalia Nakazawa, Meme Omogbai, and Deborah Obalil.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020
2 PM – 3:15 PM (ET)

RSVP HERE

Hosted by Art World Conference

Facilitator: Natalia Nakazawa, Artist, Arts Administrator, and Educator

Participants: Deborah Obalil, President and Executive Director of AICAD; Meme Omogbai, Executive Director and CEO of CAA

In 2020, colleges and universities across the world have rushed to adapt to a new reality that questions the very nature of their work: a pandemic sent students home and protests shone a spotlight on inequality supported by many of our institutions, including those in higher education. Since March, everyone involved in education has had to rethink fundamentals and challenge core assumptions ranging from the format of instruction to what and who creates value. Since arts education is historically vulnerable to funding cuts and much of the instruction relies on hands-on studio classes, specialized equipment, in-person mentorship, and tuition dollars, the systemic changes necessary to thrive require radical, ethical thinking. What are the responsibilities and priorities being considered going into this exceptional academic year?

Artist and educator Natalia Nakazawa will facilitate a discussion between two important leaders in arts education: Deborah Obalil, the President and Executive Director of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), and Meme Omogbai, the Executive Director and CEO of the College Art Association (CAA). Both institutions support and advocate for artists, arts workers, and scholars in the art and design fields. Together, they will discuss the evolving paths forward for higher education in the arts, including structural changes and very significant challenges. What is the role of higher education in times of crisis? Since creativity is nurtured by the institutions they oversee, what are the creative solutions being implemented to address health concerns, anti-racism efforts, adjunct culture, and affordability? What are their hopes and expectations for the future?

This 75-minute webinar is designed with everyone in the art world from current students to artists, arts administrators, and art historians in mind. Questions submitted during registration will be incorporated into the discussion as appropriate.

RSVP HERE

PARTICIPANT BIOGRAPHIES

Natalia Nakazawa is a Queens-based interdisciplinary artist working across the mediums of painting, textiles, and social practice. Utilizing strategies drawn from a range of experiences in the fields of education, arts administration, and community activism, Nakazawa negotiates spaces between institutions and individuals, often inviting participation and collective imagining. She has held the position of Assistant Director of EFA Studios for over 8 years, supporting a large network of contemporary artists through subsidized studio spaces and professional practice opportunities in midtown Manhattan. Nakazawa received her MFA in studio practice from California College of the Arts, a MSEd from Queens College, and a BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has recently been exhibited at Wave Hill (Bronx, NY), Arlington Arts Center (Washington, DC), Transmitter Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY), The Old Stone House in Brooklyn (Brooklyn, NY), and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY). Nakazawa has been an artist-in-residence at MASS MoCA, SPACE on Ryder Farm, The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, and Wassaic Project. She teaches at CUNY.

Deborah Obalil has over twenty years experience as a leader in the national arts and culture industry. She was appointed the Executive Director of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD) in June 2012, and then President in the fall 2015. Prior to her appointment with AICAD, Obalil operated a successful boutique arts management consulting firm, Obalil & Associates for four years. The firm provided consultation and facilitation in strategic business planning, marketing research and planning, and board development for non-profit arts organizations, independent artists of all disciplines, and creative for-profit ventures. Obalil has also served as Executive Director of the Alliance of Artists Communities and Director of Arts Marketing Center & Research at the Arts & Business Council of Chicago.

Meme Omogbai is Executive Director and CEO of College Art Association (CAA), the preeminent international support organization for professionals in the visual arts. Before joining CAA, Omogbai served as a member and past Board Chair of the New Jersey Historic Trust, one of four landmark entities dedicated to preservation of the state’s historic and cultural heritage and Montclair State University’s Advisory Board. Named one of 25 Influential Black Women in Business by The Network Journal, Meme has over 25 years of experience in corporate, government, higher education, and museum sectors. As the first American of African descent to chair the American Alliance of Museums, Omogbai led an initiative to rebrand the AAM as a global, inclusive alliance. While COO and Trustee, she spearheaded a major transformation in operating performance at the Newark Museum. During her time as Deputy Assistant Chancellor of New Jersey’s Department of Higher Education, Omogbai received Legislative acknowledgement and was recognized with the New Jersey Meritorious Service Award for her work on college affordability initiatives for families. Omogbai received her MBA from Rutgers University and holds a CPA. She did post-graduate work at Harvard University’s Executive Management Program and has earned the designation of Chartered Global Management Accountant. She studied global museum executive leadership at the J. Paul Getty Trust Museum Leadership Institute, where she also served on the faculty.

RAAMP (Resources for Academic Art Museum Professionals) has a new home! Moving forward, you can find all the resources you know and love here on our website at: collegeart.org/raamp

A project of CAA with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Samuel H. Kress 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. RAAMP’s coffee gatherings and video practica cover a wide variety of topics including advocacy, engagement, curricula building, cross-disciplinary collaboration, technology, development, and censorship.

EXPLORE RAAMP

To receive updates and invitations to upcoming RAAMP programming, sign up for the RAAMP mailing list.

For any questions regarding the RAAMP program, please contact Cali Buckley, grants and special programs manager, at: cbuckley@collegeart.org

Coffee Gathering: Reimagining Engagement in Academic Art Museums

On Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 2:00 PM (EDT) CAA’s Cali Buckley will speak with Berit Ness, Assistant Curator of Academic Initiatives, Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, and Celka Straughn, Andrew W. Mellon Director of Academic Programs at the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas. To RSVP to this Coffee Gathering, please fill out this form

Berit Ness is the Assistant Curator for Academic Initiatives at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art, where she oversees the museum’s active study room, manages curricular exhibitions, and serves as a specialist for the museum’s permanent collection. She regularly engages with UChicago faculty and students to foster interdisciplinary approaches for using the museum’s collections and exhibitions as a resource for teaching and learning. Berit has co-organized curricular-driven exhibitions such as Down Time: On the Art of Retreat and The History of Perception.

Since joining the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas in 2009 Celka Straughn has worked to integrate the museum into the life of the university, and university teaching, learning, research and other activities into the life of the museum. This includes collaborative exhibition projects with faculty and students, such as American Dream, a student-generated exhibition with Dr. Ellen Raimond in conjunction with the 2016 KU Common Book (2017). Her teaching and scholarly work on museums explores collecting practices, museums and markets, colonial and global museum discourses, cross-disciplinary museum learning and engagement, and museum ethics. She regularly teaches courses for KU’s Honors Program, and is affiliate faculty in Museum Studies and German Studies. From 2012-2019 she served on the CAA Museum Committee and contributed to the formation of RAAMP.

The COVID-19 pandemic and greater awakening of museums to the pandemic of structural racism have further pushed museums to rethink how they engage with their communities. For museums embedded within colleges and universities, this has brought a reexamination of the fundamental ways they act as sites for teaching and learning on campus. As educational institutions are pivoting to new curricular models for socially-distanced and remote learning, campus museums also have to envision new ways to support teaching with art. How can academic museums learn from these experiences to strengthen their missions for inclusion and accessibility, meet emerging academic and community needs, and catalyze structural change?

This participatory conversation is designed to bring colleagues together in discussion. The bulk of the session will take place in smaller break-out rooms for participants to individually share and learn from each other. Below are some prompts for generating conversations.

Prompts

  1. What is the landscape of teaching at your institution this the fall?
  2. How is your museum reimagining engagement with your academic and public audiences?
  3. Are there any pedagogical methods, programs, or projects that felt successful last spring?
  4. What are some strategies you are planning/developing?
  5. What are your persistent challenges and what further resources are needed?
  6. How might this moment inform your future practice?
If you have examples of class sessions, assignments, or other resources that you are willing to share with colleagues, RAAMP can host them. We will also have a shared document for models and ideas as well as questions during the breakout sessions. 

RAAMP 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. Learn more here.

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 and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

 

Coffee Gathering: Gender Equity in the Museum (and Arts) Workplace

On Thursday, July 2 at 2:00 PM (EST) we will speak with Anne Ackerson and Joan Baldwin on gender equity in museums and workplaces.

To RSVP to this Coffee Gathering, please fill out this form

A former museum director, Joan H. Baldwin is the Curator of Special Collections at The Hotchkiss School. She is the principal writer for the Leadership Matters blog which had 55,000 views in 2018. Her work has also appeared in The Museum Blog Book, “History News,” and “Museum” Magazine, Museopunks, and “The Guardian.” She is a co-founder of the Gender Equity in Museums Movement, and teaches in the Johns Hopkins University museum studies program. With Anne Ackerson, she is the co-author of Leadership Matters (2013) and Women in the Museum: Lessons from the Field (2017). She and Ackerson published a revision of Leadership Matters: Leading Museums in an Age of Discord in August 2019.

Anne W. Ackerson is a former history museum director, director of the Museum Association of New York, and director of the national Council of State Archivists. She is currently an independent consultant to cultural and educational nonprofits, specializing in leadership, governance, and management issues. With Joan H. Baldwin, she is the co-author of Leadership Matters, a book examining history museum leadership for the 21st century, and Women in the Museum: Lessons from the Workplace. She is a co-founder of the Gender Equity in Museums Movement (GEMM), which is focusing its recent efforts on education, advocacy, and policy development around pay equity, salary transparency, and sexual harassment in the museum workplace. In 2018, she and Baldwin spearheaded research, revealing that 62% of the museum workforce are affected by some form of gender discrimination. In addition to research and writing about gender inequity, she and Baldwin have presented their findings to the Texas and Pennsylvania Associations of Museums as conference keynoters and via their blog, Leadership Matters.

RAAMP 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. Learn more here.

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 and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Coronavirus-Related CAA Office Closure

posted by March 16, 2020

The recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has forced us to make major changes to lives. It has hit our members hard, with the movement of classes online for the remainder of the semester, the closure of major museums, and the cancellation of exhibitions, art fairs, conferences, and meetings. Over the last ten days, we have been posting resources on our twitter feed and on CAA News to help those affected by this health crisis.

RESOURCES FOR CORONAVIRUS-AFFECTED ARTISTS AND FACULTY

For the health and well-being of our staff, we have moved to working remotely. That means that our offices in New York City are closed until further notice.

If you have questions about your membership, please email us at membership@collegeart.org, as we will be checking our voicemails infrequently. Please be patient with your request as we navigate this new way of working under extraordinary circumstances.

Above all, please remain safe and healthy!

Filed under: Membership, Online Resources

The University of Washington announced last week that it would cancel in-person classes and have students take courses and finals remotely. Image: The UW campus in 2017, photo by Priyaranjan Pattnayak.

To help stop the spread of COVID-19 throughout the United States, several universities, including the University of Washington, Stanford, Columbia and Princeton, have chosen to temporarily forgo in-person classes in favor of remote learning. The decision to transition classes is part of an attempt at “social distancing,” the practice of limiting large gatherings and in-person contact to slow the transmission of the virus.

In most of these cases, it has been left up to faculty to make decisions about how to move their classes online. In an effort to crowdsource resources, we’ve gathered tweets and links that instructors are sharing to help, and will continue to update this list as we receive new ones.

For the most up-to-the-moment updates, please visit our Twitter feed. You can also explore resources others are sharing here.

Is your institution canceling in-person classes? Log it here:

Resources for getting started:

On including your students in an online learning plan:

Explore more resources using #CovidCampus:

HELPFUL LINKS

As Art Schools Cancel Student Shows, One Instagram Account Pledges to Give Them Life (ARTnews)

The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Museum Resources, E-Learning, and Online Collections (MCN)

Online Art & Design Studio Instruction in the Age of “Social Distancing” (Facebook group)

COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources (link)

A New Medical Emergency Grant for Artists (Hyperallergic)

15 Tips for Working Remotely (American Alliance of Museums)

Online Teaching – In the context of COVID19 (Simon D. Halliday)

Art History Resources via Smarthistory (link)

RELATED READING

Opinion: Please Do a Bad Job of Putting Your Courses Online (Rebecca Barrett-Fox)

The Coronavirus and the Ruptured Narrative of Campus Life (The New Yorker)

How to Close Colleges Without Hurting Vulnerable Students (The Washington Post)

Have a resource to contribute? Email Joelle Te Paske, CAA media and content manager, at jtepaske@collegeart.org

Editor-in-Chief Sought for Art Journal Open

posted by December 17, 2018

The Art Journal Editorial Board invites nominations and self-nominations for the position of editor-in-chief of Art Journal Open for the term of July 1, 2020–June 30, 2023 (with service as incoming editor designate, July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020). A candidate may be an artist, art historian, critic, educator, curator, or other professional within the membership served by CAA; institutional affiliation is not required. Art Journal Open is an online forum for the visual arts that presents artists’ projects, conversations and interviews, scholarly essays, and other content from across the cultural field. The independently edited journal publishes original material by artists, scholars, teachers, archivists, curators, critics, and other cultural producers and commentators, with a commitment to foster new intellectual exchanges about contemporary art and culture. Art Journal Open prioritizes material that makes meaningful use of the web, such as multimedia formats and techniques, and is published on a continual, rolling basis.

The editor is responsible for commissioning all content for Art Journal Open. He or she solicits or commissions projects, texts, and time-based content by artists and other authors, and determines the appropriate scope and format of each project. Working in consultation with the Art Journal editor-in-chief, reviews editor, and editorial board, the editor determines which pieces should undergo peer review and subsequent revision before acceptance. The editor also works with authors and a CAA staff editor on the development and preparation of materials for publication. The editorial board expects that a significant portion of the journal will be geared to work or concerns of artists, and that the editor will endeavor to give voice to underrepresented perspectives. Qualifications for the position include a broad knowledge of current art, the ability to work closely with artists in a wide variety of practices, and experience in developing written and other content for arts platforms. The position includes membership on the editorial board and, after the orientation period, an annual honorarium, paid quarterly for the three years the of the editorship. The editor attends the three meetings each year of the Art Journal Editorial Board and, as an ex-officio member, of the Publications Committee—held in New York or by teleconference in the spring and fall, and at the CAA Annual Conference in February—and submits an annual report to CAA’s Board of Directors.

Candidates must be current CAA members and should not serve concurrently on the editorial board of a competitive journal or on another CAA editorial board or committee. The editor-in-chief may not publish her or his own work on Art Journal Open or in Art Journal during the term of service. Nominators should ascertain a nominee’s willingness to serve before submitting a name; self-nominations are also welcome. Please send a letter describing your interest in and qualifications for the position, a CV, and at least one letter of recommendation to: Art Journal Open Editor Search, CAA, 50 Broadway, 21st floor, New York, NY 10004; or email the documents to Heather Holmes (hholmes@collegeart.org), CAA Associate Editor for Digital Publications.

Deadline: April 1, 2019; finalists will be interviewed on May 2 in New York.

Campuses across the country have been affected by cuts to the arts and humanities. See the full list here. Graphic: Allison Walters

By any number of metrics, the arts and humanities are experiencing challenging times. Funding is under threat from the Federal government. Student enrollment is dropping in higher education classes focusing on the arts and humanities. The number of tenure-track faculty positions are diminishing in arts and humanities departments. The wide support of STEM-centered education has placed an emphasis on career paths with measurable and immediate financial outcomes. Yet, we know the importance of an arts and humanities education, not just for those looking to have careers in the arts and humanities but those across the entire professional spectrum.

In response to the challenges in the arts and humanities, some universities and colleges in the United States have cut programs, collapsed libraries, or shuttered entire departments. These steps, taken as cost-saving measures, only increase the uphill battle for the arts and humanities. Over the past years, CAA has tracked these changes in higher education through the organization’s own research efforts and through narratives relayed directly from our members. These actions taken by administrations are in no way secret. In article after article, the alarm has been sounded. We believe there is a better way to resolve these issues and protect the arts and humanities at the same time.

To bridge this divide, CAA is pleased to release “Guidelines for Addressing Proposed Substantive Changes to an Art, Art History or Design Unit, or Program at Colleges and Universities.”

SEE THE GUIDELINES

“These guidelines provide a path for open communication between faculty and administration,” says Hunter O’Hanian, executive director of CAA. “With this new tool to be used by both administrations and faculty equally, CAA builds a resource that is vital to strengthening the arts and humanities on campuses. The guidelines create clearly definable steps and parameters for a process that when handled badly leads to fissures between faculty, students, and administrations.”

The “Guidelines for Addressing Proposed Substantive Changes to an Art, Art History or Design Unit or Program at Colleges and Universities” call for a deeper understanding of the factors and issues that have precipitated the action to close a department or program. The guidelines outline two clear paths: they encourage constituencies to communicate about the potential changes, and they pave the way to resolution without having to eliminate or downsize the program or department.

If those conversations fail to reach a satisfactory outcome with the educational institution, the guidelines emphasize that the institutional administration must do everything it can to see that the program continues. And, as is the case with all scholastic endeavors, the administrations must show their work—they must provide documentation that the department has been adequately resourced and funded. It must demonstrate that growth has been encouraged rather than to allowing it to lay fallow.

“CAA remains convinced that students and society derive lasting benefit when institutions offer a diverse range of academic resources to support different learning styles,” says Jim Hopfensperger, president of the CAA Board of Directors. “These new CAA guidelines outline best practices toward sustaining this essential diversity of academic programs and operational assets.”

Hopfensperger adds that “CAA believes that students, staff, faculty, and institutional leadership teams are all well served by inclusive processes, open lines of communication, engagement across constituencies, and empathetic deliberations.”

IMPACT OF ARTS AND HUMANITIES TOOLKIT

COLLEGES FACING CUTS TO ARTS AND HUMANITIES PROGRAMS

Authors and Contributors for the “Guidelines for Addressing Proposed Substantive Changes to an Art, Art History or Design Unit or Program at Colleges and Universities”:

CAA Working Group for Guidelines for Addressing Proposed Substantive Changes to an Art, Art History or Design Unit or Program at Colleges and Universities: Tom Berding, Michigan State University; Brian Bishop, Framingham State University (Chair, CAA Professional Practices Committee); James Hopfensperger, Western Michigan University (CAA Board President); Charles Kanwischer, Bowling Green State University; Karen Leader, Florida Atlantic University; Richard Lubben, College of the Sequoias; Paul Jaskot, Duke University; Hunter O’Hanian, CAA Executive Director.

Guglielmo Ulrich, Divano, seoffale, e stipetto [Perspective of L-Shape Sofa and Storage Unit], 1933, watercolor and black and metallic ink, over graphite, sheet: 11 1/8 × 7 9/16 in. (28.2 × 19.2 cm). Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Adding Design History Lesson Plans to the premier teaching resource site
ArtHistoryTeachingResources.org

Funding Sought: $4,000

Every day, across thousands of universities and high schools in the US, students learn about the history of art from prehistory to the present. Very rarely is design history incorporated into this curriculum. Art History Teaching Resources (AHTR)—a non-profit teaching resource site in the visual arts—wants to change this.

AHTR has collaborated with CAA’s Committee on Design to propose an initial collection of online teaching resources related to design history of the last two hundred years that will enable university-level and AP instructors to confidently teach them in foundational art and design history survey classes. The resources will be hosted online at arthistoryteachingresources.org in an area clearly marked as “design history” content.

Like AHTR’s existing resources already, the Design History Teaching Resources will include scholarly, well-researched, and peer-reviewed lecture outlines, image clusters, and bibliographies, as well as innovative digital videos and links to other Open Educational Resources (OERs) for students and teachers. The resources will remain freely accessible and open to all under a Creative Commons license.

To realize these resources AHTR needs to raise a modest sum of $4,000. If you might consider supporting this venture with a donation large or small, and would like to see the budget outline, timeline for completion, or any further details about the project, please contact: info@arthistorytr.org

Filed under: Design, Education, Online Resources

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.

HO: Yay.

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.

HO: Great.

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.

ES: Yes.

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.

We want to reach audiences that have not seen themselves in museums.

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.

We’re creating museum goers out of our local citizenry.

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.

ES: Yes.

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.