Dallas Museum of Art Awarded Significant Grant From the National Endowment for the Arts

Government Funding Enhances Online Access to the History of DMA Exhibitions

The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) announced today that it has received a major grant of $85,000 from the federal National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in their Access to Artistic Excellence category. This grant—the fourth prestigious award made to the DMA from the NEA since 2007—will be used to fund the Access to Archival Exhibition Resources Online (AAERO) project. Upon the project’s completion in late 2012, the general public will have online access to ten years of DMA exhibition documentation from one website location.

Founded in 1903, the Dallas Museum of Art has presented more than 1,500 exhibitions on topics related to its global collection. This new NEA grant funds the creation of a public website to offer unique materials created during an exhibition such as installation images, wall labels, or program recordings. The project will also support the translation into Spanish of selected contemporary art exhibition brochures and transcripts of program recordings where an artist is the featured speaker. Earlier this year, the DMA created an online audio resource, in the Research section of the DMA website, to provide access to selected audio recordings and transcripts of lectures with artists, curators, and other scholars. It can be found at http://www.DallasMuseumofArt.org/Research/Archives/index.htm.

“We are privileged to once more partner with the NEA. This new project allows us to widely distribute primary resources to the international research community and the general public,” said Olivier Meslay, Interim Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. “Our art and research collections are at the core of our mission to engage our community and to contribute to cultural knowledge.”

AAERO, a joint project between the Museum’s Digital Archives and the Information Technology department, will expand the content available through the Museum’s Arts Network, a system created to efficiently deliver content to onsite and online visitors and which has been funded by government grants and private foundations. “The DMA is constantly striving to expand the variety of offerings made available through the Arts Network channels, and the addition of these media and information rich records surrounding exhibitions is another big step in that direction,” said Homer Gutierrez, Dallas Museum of Art IT Director.

Progress continues on the Exhibition Catalogs Online (ECO) project, another NEA grant–funded initiative to digitize DMA-published exhibition catalogs and checklists from 1903 to 1983. Access to the materials will begin this summer when approximately 300 publications will be available through the Portal to Texas History created by the University of North Texas. The ECO and AAERO projects dovetail as the templates built with the AAERO project will now be the means of presentation for the ECO project catalogs on the DMA website, and will be the initial content for the earliest exhibitions.

“The AAERO project will create a centralized gateway for researchers, both the public and museum staff, to access exhibition information that currently exists in several storage locations,” added Hillary Bober, Digital Archivist at the DMA. “By creating this template, the digital archives will be able to make available for immediate use thousands of installation images, recorded lectures, press and marketing materials, and much more, generating a complete picture of an exhibition at the DMA.” The Museum’s Digital Archives is an endowed program funded in 2008 with gifts from the Dedman Foundation and an anonymous donor.

About the NEA Access to Artistic Excellence Grant
Access to Artistic Excellence encourages and supports artistic creativity, preserves our diverse cultural heritage, and makes the arts more widely available in communities throughout the country. While projects in this category may focus on just one of these areas, the Arts Endowment recognizes that many of the most effective projects encompass both artistic excellence and enhanced access. The Dallas Museum of Art was previously awarded grants in this category to advance its photography of works on paper (2007); in support of the touring exhibition Gustav Stickley and the American Arts & Crafts Movement (2009), on view now at the San Diego Museum of Art; and the catalog digitization project currently in progress (2010).

About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.

About the Dallas Museum of Art
Located in the vibrant Arts District of downtown Dallas, Texas, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) ranks among the leading art institutions in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and groundbreaking educational programs. At the heart of the Museum and its programs is its global collection, which encompasses more than 24,000 works and spans 5,000 years of history, representing a full range of world cultures. Established in 1903, the Museum welcomes approximately 600,000 visitors annually and acts as a catalyst for community creativity, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds with a diverse spectrum of programming, from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary readings, and dramatic and dance presentations.

The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

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