Exhibits, Meetings, Sessions, Veg*n Dinner

Saturday was another full day with sessions, meetings galore, and more opportunities to meet with my colleagues.

A packed Exhibits Hall

The Exhibits Hall was packed just about every time I could pop in. The coffee breaks offered a chance to roam around and meet vendors without missing sessions. The Exhibits Hall boasted a nice mix of fine press, special collections, artists’ books, media, and software vendors. It was difficult to see so many beautiful art books without buying everything!

Browsing books in the Exhibits Hall

Deciding between sessions was very difficult this year, since everything sounded so interesting.  Case Studies presented the same dilemma! I settled on Case Studies IV which was a diverse group of presentations on everything from mapping applications to library instruction to promoting visual resource collections.

What the Heart Remembers: The Women and Children of Darfur Case Study presentation

What the Heart Remembers: The Women and Children of Darfur, was a  fascinating presentation by Audrey Powers and Barbara Lewis of University of South Florida. What the Heart Remembers is a performance piece based upon the research of Anna Schmidt for Waging Peace. Drawings by children who witnessed the atrocities of genocide in Darfur were collected and exhibited worldwide. The resulting collection was donated to the USF Libraries Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center.

This case study looks at the value of art in communicating the human impact of the horrors that occurred in Darfur. It really made me think about the role of libraries and archives in promoting social awareness and preserving historical documentation of  tragedies such as this one. It also illustrates a really crucial connection between libraries and artists like the ones who interpreted the drawings that Schmidt collected.

VRA + ARLIS/NA Membership Lunch

After more interesting Case Studies, I headed over to the ARLIS/NA and VRA membership lunch. Lunch was delicious and I enjoyed meeting the interesting people with whom I shared a table. The ARLIS/NA and VRA travel award recipients were also honored, including ARLIS/DMVer Sarah Osborne Bender of The Phillips Collection who received an AskART award in recognition of her contributions to the study of American art.

Sarah Osborne Bender receives the AskART travel award

VRA and ARLIS/NA chapter meetings followed our membership lunch. The ARLIS/NA Annual Meeting included a very exciting announcement–that the ARLIS/DC-MD-VA chapter would be hosting the annual conference in 2014!

ARLIS/NA outgoing President Mari Russell at the ARLIS/NA meeting

I was really looking forward to the Engaging New Technologies session and it did not disappoint! I left this session with a long list of applications that I need to spend some time researching and playing with. While I do still have a “dumb phone” it was great to hear about mobile apps and how they are and can be used for art information. I’m so glad that my fellow librarians are so tech-savvy–it was helpful to hear their insights on useful and interesting technologies for  productivity, project management, presentation and instruction, etc. I came away with lots of inspiration and lots of new things to try!

A joint meeting of ARLIS/DC-MD-VA and VRA Mid-Atlantic chapters continued a discussion of the conference’s main theme this year–collaboration. Both chapters seemed enthusiastic about the possibility of collaborating more in the future, and we discussed our upcoming joint summer meeting. It was nice to connect with local colleagues at the conference and to meet several for the first time!

Members of ARLIS/DC-MD VA and VRA Mid-Atlantic chapters

There was much excitement about the upcoming 2014 conference for which planning will soon commence!

ARLIS/DC-MD-VA and VRA Mid-Atlantic members mingle after our meetings

Saturday evening was the second annual Veg*n Dinner, coordinated by Heather Slania, for vegans, vegetarians, and other vegetable lovers. Heather led 13 hungry art librarians to Evergreen, where I had the best Chinese food I have ever tasted. Dinner gave us a chance to meet new people and learn more about our colleagues working in art libraries and visual resources around the country. Thank you Heather for organizing this!

Veg*n Dinner

Veg*n Dinner

And so concluded another full day at VRA + ARLIS/NA 2011. Next up: Sunday Sessions, Saying Goodbye to Minneapolis & Final Thoughts.

-Emily Hunter, 2011 Caroline Backlund Award recipient