News / Blog

Creating a Living Legacy (CALL) Program Ramps Up

Cynthia Hall

Program Intern

Legacy Specialists in training visit Alicia Tormey's encaustic studio. photo: Nichole DeMent

Over Memorial Day weekend, 14 individuals, instructors and consultants gathered at Jigsaw Renaissance in the historic Inscape Arts Building in Seattle to participate in a new professional development program offered by Artist Trust: Creating a Living Legacy (CALL). This exciting pilot program, developed and supported by the Joan Mitchell Foundation (JMF), trains individuals to assist mid-career and established artists in documenting and archiving their work – a much-needed asset for artists at every stage of their careers. Artist Trust is one of four organizations nationwide selected to participate in the pilot program.

The CALL Program is comprised of four major components:
    1) Training of Legacy Specialists in archiving, documentation and related skills;
    2) Legacy Specialists archiving the cultural legacy of four Washington State artists over the age of 55;
    3) Technology skill-building for artists through a comprehensive new program called TECH EDGE (coming in Fall 2014) and individual technology workshops; and
    4) Investigating and developing “cloud” computing as a new platform for creating an archive of artists’ work.

The CALL Program is comprehensive and multi-faceted, making it an exciting undertaking for Artist Trust, Legacy Specialists, artists, and everyone who will benefit from its offerings.

The pilot CALL Program kicked-off on Friday evening, May 24, with introductions and team exercises guided by Artist Trust Program Manager, Nichole DeMent, and the expertise of Jody Bento, Gallery Manager at SAM Gallery. We immediately dove into organizing artwork images into categories: there are a surprising number of ways to do this! This was the first of many interactive exercises over the course of three days that helped us get to know one another and understand the value and requirements of becoming a Legacy Specialist. A big “thank you” goes out to Jody for sharing her extensive knowledge of art, artists and the fine points of relationship-building.

On Saturday, we were honored to visit four artists in the Inscape building for hands-on experience and tours of artists’ studios. What a treat! Studio discussions covered topics such as risk assessment and safety, and the proper handling of art materials. Even the artists themselves commented that the safety information provided by Dave Waddell of Waddell LLC was very valuable. Dave is an arts hazards expert, and is an environmental project manager and pollution inspector for the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County. The artists were especially excited to learn of programs and incentives offered by King County to assist them in improving their studio safety. Michelle Kinney, Operations Manager and Professional Registrar at Art Work Fine Art Services, gave a detailed presentation on the proper handling, storage, crating and shipping of artwork. A huge “thank you” goes out to all the participating artists and instructors for their generosity: Dave Waddell, Michelle Kinney, Julia Haack, Jen T. Mills, Fred Lisaius, and Alicia Tormey.

In the afternoon, the training shifted to the topic of photography and working with digital files, including scanning and archiving. Following that, Neal Ambrose-Smith introduced everyone to a new database developed by JMF specifically for archiving, accessing and tracking artists’ artwork. Neal is a JMF Consultant and Legacy Specialist for his mother and CALL Artist, Jaune Quick–to–See Smith, as well as a fantastic artist himself. His hands-on tutorial provided the group with insight into the benefits of a powerful database. No more lists and yellow stickies for us – thank you, Neal!

On Sunday, we had the pleasure of touring Patti Bowman’s studio – thank you, Patti! We were excited to learn how she efficiently organized her space and utilized every inch to the max! Back in the training room, we learned how to assess a studio from the standpoint of safety, efficiency, storage and archiving. Next, we were fortunate to be joined by attorney Adam Goldblatt, who led a discussion on best practices for small businesses, as well as a thoughtful exercise in understanding our potential in becoming Legacy Specialists.

Our information-packed weekend concluded on Sunday evening with a well-deserved glass of wine and tasty hors d’oeuvres on the Inscape roof deck. The mingling and ideas continued to flow over the occasional cheers echoing from nearby Safeco Field (yes…we won!). Everyone parted with the excitement of making new friends and sharing in the beginning of a new program that will help artists create a living legacy.

Get information on documenting and archiving your artwork.