The Michener Art Museum presents the newly refreshed Bucks County Artists Database
, a free online resource celebrating the rich artistic traditions, past and present, of Bucks County. With over 400 artists represented in the database, BCAD is an ever-growing project that strives to represent the regional art scene. It currently contains thousands of pages of information and images, continuing the Micheners initiative to provide research and educational tools for the community. The re-imagined database is now more accessible and user-friendly, with the most up-to-date information pertaining to the artistic landscape of Bucks County. Local artists are encouraged to submit their work to the database to be considered for representation on BCAD.
The idea of BCAD was first conceived under the leadership of former Michener Director/CEO Bruce Katsiff, hoping to represent local artists and foster a positive relationship between the Museum and the community. His vision was carried out when the Michener received a grant from William Penn Foundation in 1995 to create the database. Following the grant, an advisory board was created to direct Museum staff in the research process, thus beginning the Bucks County Artist Database. To gather information, staff members would speak to the artists directly and then undergo the slow process of uploading information onto a computer. This was no small feat, as technology was limited and uploading images alone could take up to twenty minutes to complete.
Initially, BCAD only existed within the Museums walls and was unveiled in conjunction with the Michener exhibition Creative Bucks County, which honored nationally known artists of all disciplines from Bucks County. In the gallery space, there was a single computer that housed BCAD, and visitors of the Museum were invited to browse the database. The purpose was for BCAD to be an extension of the exhibition featuring living artists in the community. At the time, the exhibition, specifically the inclusion of the database, was ground-breaking because technology of this caliber was not typically implemented in a museum setting.
Following the launch of the database, it continued to grow. In 2002, BCAD went live on the Micheners website, granting anyone with a computer the ability to access information about Bucks County artistic traditions. Additionally, local artists could now easily submit their information to be considered for representation on the website. While BCAD was originally devised in-house, it quickly became a collaborative project within the community. Since its inception, the database has grown and flourished under the management of Birgitta Bond, Michener Art Museum Librarian & Archivist.
Today, the Bucks County Artist Database still stands as an important resource for artists and locals alike. It proves that the Bucks County art scene is still alive as the database is constantly being updated with information about new artists. The Michener is proud to represent the diverse artistic traditions of the area and serve as a conduit of information. From the original Pennsylvania Impressionists to local contemporary artists, Bucks County is, and will always be, a hub for creative inspiration.