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The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Received Grant to Digitize Collection
Robert Scott Duncanson, Heart of the Andes, 1871, oil on canvas. Gift of Elizabeth Upjohn Mason and Lowell B. Mason, Jr. 2002.9

KALAMAZOO, MI.- The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (KIA) has been awarded a $41,700 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to establish a system to digitize the KIA collection.

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Since the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts was founded in 1924, there has been a concerted effort to establish a permanent collection of American modern art. Today, the collection includes nearly 4,000 works including prints, paintings, sculpture, ceramics and a photography anthology of more than 800 photos that is considered to be one of the country’s best photography collections.

Until recently, the only way to learn about these works was to visit the KIA, which is not always an option for students and art patrons who may live out of state, but have interest in a certain artist or style of American modern art. This grant serves as a springboard to broaden accessibility to the collection. The grant will fund the first phase of a three-phase collections digitization/cataloging initiative known as The Collections Digitization Project, which aims to improve stewardship and use of the growing permanent collection of artwork owned by the KIA. The Collections Digitization Project will allow the institute to improve the management, use, and care of its art.

“We are very pleased to receive this grant, and excited to complete this project so we may improve and extend accessibility to the collection. Our goal is to become an excellent resource for information for art students, art historians and those researching various artists or artistic styles” says Robin Goodman, registrar for the KIA.

This three-phase project will capture digital images of artwork (phase 1), standardize their records in the KIA collections-management database (phase 2), and place permanent collection images and information on the institute website (phase 3).

Occurring Sept. 1, 2009-Sept. 30, 2010, the first phase will establish a protocol for digitally documenting works, creating digital images of nearly 4,000 permanent collection works, and developing resources that guide the future creation of digital images and metadata records.

The project will be conducted by the KIA’s registrar, Robin Goodman and its preparator, Brian Mosher, who will also serve as the project photographer. They will be supported by digitization and metadata consultants from Western Michigan University Libraries’ Digitization Center and the institute’s director of collections and exhibitions. The University Libraries Digitization Program has experience in comprehensive digitization projects by providing expertise in standards and best practices for preservation and access in support of teaching, learning, and research.

When completed, these activities will yield:

• a workstation for photographing, scanning, and digitally storing images

• a digital-image database of permanent collection artwork

• a bound digitizing standards manual that will be used as a reference to ensure that all images are created according to prescribed industry standards

• a metadata standards manual that will be ready to be used in a follow-up permanent collections management project

More information regarding this project may be found at:

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts was among 167 organizations to receive this grant, out of 433 applicants. The program is funded through the Institute of Library Services’ Museums for America grant.

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