January 28, 2012

Art Matters

Thanks to the Distribution to Underserved Communities (DUC) library program, Neill Public Library has something new to share with our local community!

I first learned of the DUC library program in late 2011 from a fellow librarian in Washington. The DUC program was founded in 1990 by the non-profit organization Art Resources Transfer Inc. Their goal is to “actively further a more egalitarian access to contemporary art, and is committed to fostering partnerships between publishers, non-profit organizations, librarians and readers to enrich and diversify library collections.” To that end, public libraries in underserved communities could apply to receive a free collection of contemporary art books. Based on Pullman’s population of 27,599 and Neill Public Library’s 29,000 registered patrons, we met the eligibility requirements.

I submitted our application because this opportunity was too important to let it pass. Important for the library, as this particular collection was in need of a new infusion of material; and important for our community, as all too often arts suffer when there are budget cuts. I am pleased to share that Neill Public Library’s application was approved and a collection of new art books will soon be available for check-out. Area libraries, public schools, civic organizations and private citizens alike stand to benefit from this acquisition.

Some of these new books celebrate the finished work of artists like Chuck Close (photorealist), FelixGonzales-Torres (sculpture, installation art), Fred Wilson (conceptual arts), Catherine Opie (documentary photography) and Allan McCollum (sculpture, conceptual art) and include photographs from their exhibits in art museums like The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Austin Museum of Art, Ackland Art Museum, and Orange County Museum of Art. Other books like Maria Eichhorn, John Miller: Between Artists and Mike Kelley pay homage to the creative process of an artist. In their own words artists review their work, share their inspirations and converse about life in these documented interviews.

And still other books celebrate the collaborative efforts of many artists united with a common purpose. Karkhana: a Contemporary Collaboration features the work of six Pakistani artists whose combined expressions center around the American military action following September 11, 2001. The book Mary Lee Bendolph, Gee’s Bend Quilts, and Beyond will be of interest to the quilters in our community. This vibrant collection features the deeply personal work from women of the Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective from Rehoboth and Boykin, Alabama.

Maya Angelou once said “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Sometimes that story can be told through the printed word; sometimes that story is better told through art seen on a canvas, in a photograph or as expressed in a quilt. Thanks to the Distribution to Underserved Communities Library Program, Neill Public Library has new stories to share with you. Come visit us today.
  by Joanna Bailey,
Library Director
published January 28, 2012 in Moscow-Pullman Daily News

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