January 28, 2005
Rutgers University Awarded Funding by the Getty Foundation for the Women Artists Archives National Directory.
Rutgers University Libraries has been awarded a $149,000 grant from the Getty Foundation to
build the Women Artists Archives National Directory (WAAND), the nation's first online
integrated guide to contemporary women's art history. Capitalizing on two of Rutgers'
demonstrated fields of excellence - women in the visual arts and emerging digital library
technologies - the project will produce an innovative Web directory to primary source
materials of and about women visual artists active in the U.S. since 1945.
WAAND will serve as a research tool for scholars, artists, curators, students, and
collecting institutions around the world, as well as researchers in cultural and
intellectual history, American studies, material culture, and women's and gender studies. In
its technology and content, WAAND is designed to become a model in the development of Web
"This project is building out a critical piece of the Rutgers' repository infrastructure,"
says University Librarian Marianne Gaunt, who emphasizes the national import of the project
"There is always a need to identify people and places and collections, these are critical
components of information access."
Funding for WAAND has been awarded by the Getty Foundation, a program of the J. Paul Getty
Trust. Formerly known as the Getty Grant Program, the foundation began in 1984 and has grown
to be among the largest and most highly respected international supporters of the visual
arts. Through its core program areas and special initiatives, the Getty Foundation provides
support to institutions and individuals throughout the world, funding a diverse range of
projects that promote the understanding and conservation of the visual arts.
"We take great pride in the work that has been accomplished by all of our grantees over the
years," says Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation. "These are challenging times
for cultural institutions, and as we look to the future we are strongly committed to
supporting extraordinary projects locally, nationally, and internationally."
WAAND's principal investigators are Dr. Ferris Olin, head of the Margery Somers Foster
Center, Rutgers University Libraries, and long-time curator of the Mary H. Dana Women Artist
Series at the Mabel Smith Douglass Library, and Judith K. Brodsky, Rutgers distinguished
professor emerita in the Department of Visual Arts, Mason Gross School of the Arts.
Dr. Olin and Professor Brodsky are known nationally for their groundbreaking work in women's
history, art and art history, and feminism. They have been associated with the Feminist Art
Movement since its inception in the early 1970s. In addition to her publications and
exhibitions, Dr. Olin serves as vice-president of the College Art Association. She created
the award-winning New Jersey Women's History Database, the only state women's history
website in the country. Professor Brodsky is founding director of the Rutgers Center for
Innovative Print and Paper (RCIPP). She is past president of ArtTable (2000-02), the College
Art Association (1992-94), and of the Women's Caucus for Art (1976-78). In 2002, Brodsky
established the June Wayne Study Room and Archive at RCIPP, based on the gift by June Wayne
of her art estate, valued at more than $5 million.
Grace Agnew, Associate Librarian for Digital Library Systems at the Rutgers University
Libraries and WAAND's digital architect, served as the architect and principal investigator
for the Moving Image Collections (MIC), a collaboration between the Library of Congress and
the Association of Moving Image Archivists. MIC, which was funded by the National Science
Foundation as part of the National Science Digital Library, is the nation's first Web portal
providing an archive directory, union catalog, and preservation resources for archival
moving images. Agnew is also digital architect for the New Jersey Digital Highway (NJDH), a
statewide Web portal to digital information in cultural heritage collections. The technology
developed for these prior projects will be augmented and tailored for the particular needs
Agnew is the co-author of the book, Getting Mileage out of Metadata: A Practical Guide for
Librarians (ALA, 2001) and of numerous articles, presentations, and workshops on metadata,
digital rights management, and digital video. She is also a member of the National
Information Standards Organization (NISO) MetaSearch Working Group on Collections
Description. Under her leadership, new technologies are being developed at Rutgers' School
of Communication, Information and Library Studies (SCILS) to evaluate the WAAND survey.
"To my knowledge, there isn't anything that actually does what we are doing, which is why
directory development really interests me," says Agnew. "I am hoping that between MIC, with
its emphasis on organizations, and WAAND, with its emphasis on individual artists and their
collected papers, we might evolve something completely new."
Also working on the WAAND digital architecture is Jane D. Johnson, project manager for the
Moving Image Collections (MIC) and visiting scholar at Rutgers University Libraries. Johnson
was a librarian for the UCLA Film and Television Archive for 17 years and has held positions
in art museum and public libraries, and at the Prints and Photographs Division of the
Library of Congress. She is a lead designer of MIC technologies, including the directory of
organizations and the MIC bibliographic utility.
An advisory council of nationally-recognized consultants on database technology and design,
archives and collections, and on women artists, is working across disciplines to maximize
WAAND's effectiveness. Members of the WAAND Advisory Council include Mary Garrard, professor
emerita, American University, and noted author of The Power of Feminist Art; Camille
Billops, artist, filmmaker, and co-founder of the Hatch-Billops Archives, New York, New York;
and Janis Ekdahl, retired chief librarian of the Museum of Modern Art Library, New York, New
Rutgers has a long history of involvement in the Women's Art Movement. The Dana Women Artist
Series, founded in 1971, is the oldest continuous venue devoted to exhibiting work by
emerging and established contemporary women artists.
Rutgers also boasts extensive archival collections documenting the U.S. women's art movement
of the second half of the 20th It holds the papers and records of prominent women artists
and women's art
organizations including those of the Women's Caucus for Art, the New York Feminist Art
Institute, and the HeresiesCollective.
"The beginning of the twenty-first century is a good time to look at our recent historical
past," says Professor Judith K. Brodsky. "So often in the past we have seen women written
out of the historical record. WAAND can establish a virtual community of interest in women
artists and their work by providing universal access to information on this vital group of
culture-makers. We also aim to motivate today's older artists to organize their own papers
for donation to appropriate research collections, both to benefit researchers and also to
influence and inspire the next generation of artists."
"Women have been key leaders across the landscape of late-20th century art," says Dr. Ferris
Olin. "The reintroduction of the figure as a potent means of expression, the use of
non-tradition materials, the establishment of alternative exhibition spaces, are just a few
of the widely adopted innovations that can be traced to the Women's Art Movement.
Furthermore, women artists were key leaders in the social and political revolutions of their
time. WAAND's mission is to make accessible all the research data on this extraordinary
To partner with WAAND, please send information directly to Nicole Plett, project manager, at
email@example.com or call 732/932-9407, ext. 27.
Margery Somers Foster Center
Mabel Smith Douglass Library
Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey
8 Chapel Drive
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8527