Grant News

Check out these recent articles about grant-funded research and initiatives at Bates from the Bates Communications team!


October 2016


In this issue:

  • Two Major Grants for Bates Museum of Art
    • King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture Supports Exhibition of Contemporary Saudi Art
    • Henry Luce Foundation Helps Description, Digitization of Marsden Hartley Collection
  • Krista Aronson’s “Picture Book Project” Wins “Ignition Grant” from IMLS

 Two Major Grants for Bates Museum of Art

The Bates College Museum of Art has recently secured two significant grants, one to support a groundbreaking exhibition, and another that will help us describe, digitize, and conserve an important resource for the benefit of coming generations.

Phantom Punch: Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia

Phantom Punch: Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia is a new exhibition that will open October 28th and run through March 18, 2017. The exhibition has been curated by Prof. Loring “Danny” Danforth of the Anthropology Department and Dan Mills, Director of the Bates College Museum of Art. It is funded in part by a $100,000 grant from the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, with production assistance from CULTURUNNERS, Ltd.  The exhibition features work by leading and emerging Saudi artists, as well as a series of lectures, visiting artists, and performances, story-telling and other pop-up events that create timely cross-cultural dialogue on campus and in the surrounding communities. This is one of four coordinated group exhibitions focusing on contemporary Saudi art in the US in 2016, along with Parallel Kingdoms in Houston, Gonzo Arabia in Aspen, and Genera#ion in San Francisco. Unlike these exhibitions, however, Phantom Punch includes work by artists from both Gharem Studio and Pharan Studio, the two leading groups of artists in the Kingdom. All of these exhibitions are part of CULTURUNNERS’ multi-year tour across the U.S.

Henry Luce Foundation Helps Bring Marden Hartley Collection to the World

The Marsden Hartley Memorial Collection is one of the strengths of the museum’s permanent collection, featuring drawings and a few small paintings by the artist, a variety of art objects collected by the Lewiston native —who is increasingly recognized as a leading American painter of the early 20th  century—in the course of his life and travels, as well as other materials relating to Hartley. The relationship of these objects to Hartley’s body of work, however, has been challenging to articulate, without the descriptions, promotion, and conservation treatment necessary to be able to make them available to the wider world of art history scholars. With the support of a $50,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, the Museum will begin the process of integrating these materials into our collection database, interacting with scholars of Hartley’s work to better describe their significance, and carrying out the conservation treatments necessary to prepare these items for handling or exhibition.

Krista Aronson’s Picture Book Project Earns Sparks! Grant from IMLS

In 2014, Prof. Krista Aronson of the Psychology Department and her research student, Brenna Callahan ’15, began the Picture Book Project, to attempt to measure the degree to which children of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds are (and are not) represented in children’s literature. Since then, Prof. Aronson and her students have developed a taxonomy of characteristics that can be used to richly describe the various topics and themes found in this literature. In so doing, they amassed a collection of such books, published from 2004 through the present, which are displayed and available for circulation in the lobby of Ladd Library, and found themselves potentially filling a need felt by children’s librarians, teachers, parents, and children themselves throughout the nation.

How, though, can one make use of sample themes such as “Oppression” (based on race or culture), “Beautiful Life” (positive depictions of cultural particularity), and “Everychild” (books which feature a child of color as protagonist but whose race is not a feature of the story), in ways that are readily intelligible to such constituencies? How do the particularities of the cultures and origins depicted get filtered through the sometimes rigid mesh of a library catalog? To address this problem, Prof. Aronson applied for and received a $20,197 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries program. IMLS is the Federal grantmaking agency whose mission “is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement.”

With the support of the grant, Prof. Aronson will work with librarians (Christina Bell, Humanities Librarian at Ladd Library; and in a consulting role, Deborah Tomaras, a cataloging librarian at Lewiston Public Library and Patten Free Library in Bath), children’s book authors (Anne Sibley O’Brien of Portland, a long-time collaborator on the project)—as well as Brenna, who has sustained her involvement in the project as a volunteer, and a new research student—to make project data readily available in usable forms on the Ladd Library website, and to promote its availability to interested constituents.

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