NEW PALTZ – The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz (Dorsky Museum), the Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, and the Women’s Studio Workshop—members of a newly-formed Hudson Valley Visual Arts Collections Consortium—announce the launch of a digital collections pilot project featuring 250 Hudson Valley-related artworks from their combined collections.
Collection images and information are available for viewing on the Hudson River Valley Heritage website at www.hrvh.org/hvvacc.
The permanent collections of the above organizations, which are largely hidden from public view except through periodic exhibitions of selected works, contain outstanding examples of American art. Artworks include works from the Hudson River School of Art, the first American school of art, as well as a survey of works from the Woodstock colony—one of the oldest artist colonies in the country—photographs by American masters both historic and contemporary, art from well-known New York City-based painters and sculptors from the 1920s-1970s, and unique contemporary art from the country’s largest repository of hand-printed artists’ books.
The current digital project is part of a larger, three-year effort to feature all 15,000 objects from the partners’ permanent collections on a dedicated website, where they will be available to the public 24 hours a day. Over time, it is anticipated that other organizations in the region will join the Consortium and add images and information from their collections to the digital collection available on the Consortium website.
The five Ulster County-based organizations came together initially due to their geographic proximity (all are within 30 minutes of each other), their past history of sharing work from their collections with each other, their desire to develop a web-based database to showcase their collections and their desire, over time, to develop a long-term solution for the physical storage of their collection objects.
This project is unique for a number of reasons. First, it will make important art objects from the region available to educators, students, artists, curators and the general public for research, study, and enjoyment as well as the development of new scholarship and exhibitions. Second, it will create a link between Consortium partners that will enable them to develop shared programming and strengthen their role as significant art centers responsible for collecting, preserving, displaying and interpreting artworks that showcase the significance of the cultural heritage of the Hudson River Valley region of New York state. Last, the project offers a model of successful collaboration that can be emulated elsewhere in the region and the country.
This pilot project is made possible through funding from the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area (through a grant to the Dorsky Museum) and from the County of Ulster’s Ulster County Cultural Promotion and Services Fund administrated by Dutchess County Arts Council (through a grant to the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild). Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Dorsky Museum is providing support for the multi-year digitization process that involves the remainder of the 15,000 collection objects.
“This is a great opportunity for the region,” said Sara Pasti, The Neil C. Trager Director of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art. “From the nineteenth century to the present, the Hudson Valley has been a cradle for artistic creation and innovation. Now everyone will be able to see the treasures that lie hidden in these collections.”
Added Ariel Shanberg, executive director of the Center for Photography at Woodstock, “Each organization involved in the Consortium has had an important role to play in the development and presentation of contemporary American art.”
For more information about Consortium visual art organizations, visit the following websites:
Center for Photography at Woodstock
The Consortium Web site will be hosted by the Highland, NY-based Southeastern New York Library Resources Council (SENYLRC), a regional, not-for-profit, multi-type library cooperative that provides resources to over 130 libraries and cultural heritage organizations and hosts the Hudson River Valley Heritage Web site (www.hrvh.org).