Friday, February 4, 2011

Getting to Know Us: Museum Library

This week's blog post is from Frank Thomson, the Museum's Curator, who also organizes the Museum Library:

“Visiting this museum is always a treat, and the library is exceptional.”

This is a note left in the comment book by a visitor this winter. It highlights one of the important, but quieter, programs at the Asheville Art Museum, the Frances Mulhall Achilles Library. The library is located by the stairs leading up to the second floor. It features books, catalogs, magazines, videos and art images. All of this material is searchable in a computer catalog.

On February 3, 2011, the library celebrated an important milestone; the nine thousandth item was added to the catalog.

The Asheville Art Museum’s library is one of the largest resources of art publications in the region and is regularly used by staff, visitors, students and scholars. While the materials do not circulate, the Museum has a Teachers’ Resource Center that allows area school teachers to check out materials for use in the classroom.

Also thanks to a grant from Progress Energy, the library includes three computers with Internet access for further art research.

The success of the library is due to many supporters who have donated materials, but in particular to a small group of dedicated volunteer librarians. The current group consists of Leah Karpen, Fran Myers, Meg Miles and Martha Shepard. Most Thursday mornings find this dedicated and hard working group in the library cataloging new materials, re-shelving books and other tasks needed to maintain the library as the important resource that it is.

The library is free to Members or with paid admission, so check it out the next time you are in the Museum. If you are here on a Thursday morning, say hello to the librarians, they always love visitors.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Getting to Know Us: Membership and Groups

Continue getting to know us with this post from Rebecca Lynch-Maass, Membership Manager at the Museum. She coordinates the Collectors' Circle group. Read here about their recent purchase party:

The Asheville Art Museum Collectors’ Circle held their seventh annual selection dinner on January 17, 2011. The Collectors’ Circle is dedicated to increasing their own knowledge about art and collecting, while also growing the Museum’s Permanent Collection through annual purchases from an acquisition fund created by yearly dues.

This year, the Circle and Circle members added 10 works to the Museum’s Permanent Collection, as well as furthering their commitment to the growth of acquisition funds for the Museum.

The 2010 Collectors’ Circle members voted to acquire Basket by Ruth Asawa (pictured left). This early Asawa work, one of few created while she was a student at Black Mountain College, is a stunning example of her early efforts with the looped-wire technique learned in Toluca, Mexico in 1947. Central to an earlier exhibition of her work was a large looped wire sculpture given to the Museum by Lorna Blaine Halper. The addition of this early basket form offers us the opportunity to build upon Halper’s significant gift and to showcase both an early and a later wire sculpture. This addition of a work by a Black Mountain College artist, and especially one created at Black Mountain College, adds to the ongoing efforts by the Museum to build a significant BMC Collection, and continues the Circle’s commitment to that Collection.

In anticipation of the upcoming exhibition Artists at Work: American Printmakers and the WPA (April 29 – September 25, 2011), Assistant Curator Cole Hendrix presented three works by WPA printmakers Minna Citron, Louis Schanker and Hyman Warsager to the Circle. Warsager’s 1937 lithograph Preserve the Initiative for Children, Schanker’s 1939 woodcut Three Men on a Bench (pictured left) and Squid Under Pier, 1948-9, intaglio and stencil by Minna Citron were gifted by individual members.

Another purchase by the Circle with their 2010 Acquisition Fund was photographer John Pfahl’s Fish, Cypress Gardens, Florida, 2001, Type C color negative print (pictured left). Individuals Pam Myers, Gail and Brian McCarthy and Gary and Olivia Zahler made additional contributions for the purchase of this work. Another powerful work by Pfahl presented to the Circle, Morning Light on Railroad Viaduct, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 2004, Endura print, was chosen to be purchased with funds from the Nat C. Myers Photography Fund.

Additional works gifted by Individual Circle members included:

Morning Gossips by Alfred Heber Hutty, drypoint etching on paper, 1950, gifted by Rob Pulleyn (pictured left).

Ray Griffin and Thom Robinson gifted two works: Ronald Cooper’s Helldozer, mixed media, 2008 (pictured left); and Thunder Pony by John Grant, carved stone, 2007.

Anne Burkhardt and Cherry Lentz Saenger gifted Taylor Rolling Store, acrylic on canvas, not dated (pictured left).

Since their founding in 2003 the Collectors’ Circle and Circle members have contributed over $300,000 to Collections growth and support for the Asheville Art Museum. Their generosity and commitment are to be applauded, and are an inspiration to us all.

2010 Collectors’ Circle members were Nancy Albyn, Phillip Broughton and David Smith, Nat and Anne Burkhardt, Andrew Glasgow, Ray Griffin and Thom Robinson, Susan Holden, Suzanne and Stephen Jones, Gail and Brian McCarthy, Fran Myers, Ladene and Russell Newton, Ann and Ted Oliver, Mary Powell, Rob Pulleyn, Cherry and Paul Lentz Saenger, Randy Siegel, Susan Stair Stevens, Susan Turner, Olivia and Gary Zahler.

Rebecca would also love to help you become a Member so you can join us for the New Members' Reception on February 13 (*mention this blog and get $5 off!*). E-mail or visit for information.