University Art Collection Spring 2019 Newsletter
SPRING 2019 NEWSLETTER
Art Collection Curator/Coordinator Report
I am pleased to announce that the University Art Collection Committee (UAC) has adopted the new UAC Strategic Plan (2019-2023). The plan in its entirety can be found on the UAC website. Over the next five years, I will work to meet the four new strategic initiatives that place greater emphasis on collection accessibility, collection stewardship, research, financial stability and operational excellence.
We have begun the important work of developing our accessibility and inclusion initiative with the two newly awarded grants from the Knight Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts. These generous grants will help the University expand the collection to include art by two young artists of Middle Eastern deSCent, Shiva Ahmadi and Farah Al-Qasimi. The grants will also provide resources for associated programming to provide students with context of the works that will remain in the University Collection on display in the David Adamany Undergraduate Library.
The final report generated from the Collections Assessment for Preservations (CAPS) grant, received in 2018, will provide a road map for future collection stewardship, and will assist in seeking funding to support our conservation and preservation initiatives.
In May, I will celebrate my second anniversary with the Wayne State University Art Collection. I continue to be awed by the depth and breadth of this important art collection, and amazed by the generosity of those who have helped build it. This collection provides the most comprehensive look at Detroit art in the 20th and 21st centuries, and illuminates the role that Wayne State University has played in the Detroit, and the national, art communities. Along with many of the works, we have volumes of archival materials that will serve as an invaluable resource for future research.
I am looking forward to continuing the important work of caring for, building and promoting this very special art collection.
Grace Serra, Apr. 2019
Shiva Ahmadi, Gold Throne, 2016, mixed-media on aquaboard, 45 x 37 in. University commission, 2016.
Mail Checks to: Gift Processing, 5700 Cass Avenue, Suite 1200, Detroit, MI 48202
Please include note that your gift should go to the University Art Collection, Knight Art Challenge Match – Account 444914
Call: 313 577-2263
The College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts provides Activity Awards scholarships each semester. Students are provided the opportunity to gain first-hand collections management experience, while learning professional skills, through designed activities. Over the last two years, the UAC has worked with Art and Art History students who have been researching and writing about artworks in the collection. The essays produced will be published online, on the UAC website, when the online collection goes live later this year. These Activity Awards have been a wonderful way to work with and engage students in the collection. As the new strategic initiatives are implemented, there will be many more future opportunities for students interested in collections management and museum studies.
LaChelle Barton, a Masters of Library and Information Science student, has been volunteering with the University Art Collection to help create guidelines, following standard archiving practices, for its digital archives. The purpose of this activity is to begin to build a quality database for research purposes.
Often gifts of larger collections that come to the university also come with extensive archival materials. Such was the case of the John Hilberry-Niki Tsagaris gift, which was donated in 2017, and installed in the Tierney Alumni House. Over the Winter semester, LaChelle helped establish the processes and began to digitize the archival materials associated with this gift.
Undergraduate Art History Student Marissa Gannascoli joined the UAC team in January to continue the tradition of selecting and writing on works for our “Picture of the Week” feature found on the UAC website, Facebook (Wayne State University Art Collection) and Instagram (@WayneStateUniversityCollection) each week. Please follow and 'like' us.
LaChelle Barton (Grad) Marissa Gannascoli (Undergrad)
Copyright Detroit Free Press / ZUMA Press
Richard Biliatis was a former University Art Collection Curator and Professor Emeritus. He was a graduate of Wayne State University and spent his entire professional career at the university as faculty, chair of the James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History, director of the Department Art Gallery, resident scholar, and associate dean of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts. In 1968, he founded the Wayne State University Art Collection with the belief that it would "provide a sense of history, as well as a source of education and enrichment for students, faculty, alumni and community." Since its modest beginnings in the 1960’s, the Art Collection has grown from 127 objects to include nearly 7,000 works of art.
In honor of his memory, a celebration and special exhibition that will showcase many of his key acquisitions to the University Art Collection will be held on Friday July 26, 2019, 5:00 p.m. at the Elaine L. Jacob Gallery.