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CALL Participants Tour SAM’s Art Storage

Cynthia Hall

CALL Program Manager

[from left] Cynthia Hall; Carolyn Dunford; Jim Woodring; Esther Ervin; Marita Dingus; Juan Alonso; Chiyo Ishikawa; Phil Stoiber. photo: Shannon Halberstadt

In celebration of Artist Trust’s Creating a Living Legacy (CALL) program, the CALL Artists and Legacy Specialists received a private tour of the Seattle Art Museum’s art storage area in early December. This exclusive tour was a special way to celebrate the conclusion of the CALL program, which formally ends this month, by providing the participants with a rare peek at how SAM manages their collections. It seemed only fitting, since the CALL program, administered by Artist Trust through a grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, provides visual artists with assistance in archiving and documenting their life’s work.

Our tour began when CALL Artists Juan Alonso, Marita Dingus and Jim Woodring, Legacy Specialists Carolyn Dunford and Esther Ervin, and members of Artist Trust were greeted at SAM by Phil Stoiber, Senior Registrar for Exhibitions. Phil generously offered to lead us through the private lower floor where SAM stores and protects its permanent collection and loaned art objects. While there, we had the pleasure of meeting Julie Creahan, Collections Care Manager, who described the process of caring for all the wonderful objects at SAM. We learned how hundreds of objects in the permanent collection are carefully cleaned and stored in humidity-controlled cabinets to prevent deterioration.

Later, we were honored and delighted to have Chiyo Ishikawa, Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art and Curator of European Painting and Sculpture, speak to us about the museum, its collections, and the process of managing exhibitions.

Surrounded by everything from exotic African tribal figures to stunning contemporary paintings, we all felt privileged to have a glimpse at the inner workings of this very special and treasured museum.

Thank you, SAM!