The Dorsky Museum to develop searchable database of Hudson Valley art collections with help of $150,000 grant

The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, the lead member of the Hudson Valley Visual Arts Consortium, has been awarded a $150,000 collaborative Museums for America federal grant to develop an easy-to-search, Web-accessible database that will feature images and information for more than 13,000 objects from the collections of The Dorsky and four other Ulster County visual arts organizations.

Other members of the Hudson Valley Visual Arts Consortium include the Center for Photography at Woodstock; the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild; the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum; and the Women’s Studio Workshop.

The project, titled “Art of the Hudson Valley and Beyond: The Digital Collections of the Hudson Valley Visual Arts Consortium,” has been funded by a federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant supported by New Paltz alumnus and Congressman Maurice Hinchey ’68, ‘70g. The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.

Dorsky Museum Director Sara Pasti said, “We are thrilled to have received this grant, which will allow the Museum to work with its colleagues in the region to showcase the art and artists of the Hudson Valley. The public is in for a treat.”

In his letter supporting this project, Congressman Hinchey wrote: “The Hudson River Valley is a unique region with abundant resources that deserve our attention and our protection. This collaborative effort is an outstanding step toward ensuring that these treasures are conserved for future generations to enjoy.”

In addition to this collection digitization effort, Pasti said the Consortium is seeking funding to develop a Hudson Valley regional visual art collections storage facility and study center that will allow collection artworks to be housed in a central location where they can be easily accessed for purposes of study, research and exhibition development.

“From the nineteenth century to the present, the Hudson Valley has been a cradle for artistic creation and innovation,” said Pasti.

“The Hudson Valley was home to the Hudson River School painters, the first recognized school of American art. Fifty years later, the Byrdcliffe Art Colony (now the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild) brought the first artists to Woodstock. The Center for Photography at Woodstock was one of the first organizations to recognize, support and collect photography as fine art,” she added.

Ariel Shanberg, executive director at the Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW), said, “This is an exciting next step in the way arts organizations in our unique region of the world are working together. It dynamically builds on the important relationship we established in 1996 with the museum’s founding director, Neil C. Trager, when CPW’s permanent print collection was placed on extended loan with the Dorsky Museum – a partnership which has increased the accessibility to, visibility of, and appreciation for contemporary photography in the Hudson Valley for nearly 15 years.”

The Woodstock Artists Association and Museum was developed to provide exhibition space for local artists, while the Women’s Studio Workshop became the country’s largest publisher of artist hand-printed books. The Dorsky Museum—the museum of the State University of New York at New Paltz—was created to support and enrich the academic programs at the college, to present a broad range of national and international art for study and enjoyment, and to serve as a center for Hudson Valley arts and culture. The digitization project is a direct outgrowth of the Dorsky Museum’s mission to serve as a resource and cultural hub for the Hudson Valley region.

The Consortium Web site will be hosted by the Southeastern New York Library Resources Council (SENYLRC), which is also located in Ulster County. The Web site will be accessible through its own portal and through the Hudson River Valley Heritage Web site,