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 archives directories.

"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 of WAAND.

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 York.

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 generation."

To partner with WAAND, please send information directly to Nicole Plett, project manager, at nplett@rci.rutgers.edu 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
732-932-9407 x27