Digitization Project

From the Rain, Harold Feist (1990) Acrylic on canvas; Collection of the Art Gallery of Algoma; Gift of Aaron Milrad

The Art Gallery of Algoma started acquiring their art collection as early as 1975 when the gallery was established.  Maintaining accurate records about the artwork, its history, and the artists are just as important as collecting the artwork itself.  While these records were well organized, they have been kept as paper files for nearly forty years.  Now well into the 21st century and with approximately 5,000 works of art in the permanent collection, it is due time to update the filing system.  Art galleries and museums are opting for a computer database to maintain their collection records, called a catalogue, to allow for easier searchability and more accessible information.

With this intention in mind, the AGA applied for the Museum and Technology Fund from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture to digitize a part of their collection; with such a large collection it is a good idea to break the work down into more manageable parts.  With the grant secured, the digitization of about 750 works of art began.  By Fall 2012 these works of art had been photographed and compiled into a list.  This is where I come in!

I joined the AGA team at the beginning of May to complete the second stage of the project.  I am compiling information from the old paper files into the computer database and editing the images of the art with help from Miranda Bouchard, Curator, and Katie Alton, Web and Computer Specialist (also Marketing and Office Coordinator).  Information about the artwork that is entered into the database will include artist’s name, title, year, dimensions, media, support, and acquisition information.  By the end of the project, all of this information with images will be uploaded onto our website and they will be available to the public.

While this project will help to make searching information about the AGA’s collection more efficient for staff, it will also allow the public to have access to the collection from home.  With the AGA’s revival in mind, this project is aimed to promote the gallery and show the Sault and surrounding areas what an important resource we are for regional and national art and culture.

By Lauren Shoniker

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