Survey: Atlanta Contemporary Art Center

Posted August 05, 2010 by Anonymous
Part 1.
Year Founded: 
1c. Organization's annual budget.: 
$500,001 - $750,000
1b. Primary activity[ies] of the organization.: 
Multipurpose Space [Amalgam of Multiple Artistic Disciplines]
Part 2.
2a. Mission Statement: 
The Contemporary’s mission is dedicated to excellence, experimentation and education in all forms of contemporary art.
2b. Organization History / Organizational Overview. Index of important events in organization's history.: 
HISTORY The Contemporary was founded in 1973 as a storefront cooperative gallery by a group of Atlanta photographers who sought freedom to experiment and to exhibit their work on their own terms. The gallery, supported by member dues and staffed by volunteers, staged monthly exhibits of local, regional and national photographers. In 1975, The Contemporary embarked on its first publishing venture, The Southern Ethic, a catalogue to accompany a regional juried photography exhibition. This project led directly to the establishment of Nexus Press in 1977. With the aid of the City of Atlanta’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs, The Contemporary leased a 55,000 square foot elementary school from the Board of Education in 1976 and began to expand its programs. Other arts organizations and artists were invited to share the building, collectively calling itself the Forrest Avenue Consortium. Over time, as the roster of resident organizations varied, Nexus, Inc. became the name for the entire facility. Between 1980 and 1982, Nexus consolidated its two gallery programs -- the Third Floor and The Contemporary Gallery for Photography -- into a single visual arts program and established its performing arts program. Nexus’s 10th anniversary marked a commitment on the part of the organization to develop a higher public profile, expand its Board of Directors to include both artists and interested community members, and increase its financial base through fundraising efforts. In March, 1984, the Board of Directors voted to refer to the organization as Nexus Contemporary Art Center, reflective of a self-understanding of the organization’s mission and role in the community. In June, 1987 the school which Nexus occupied since 1976 was sold to a local business, and Nexus began searching for a new home. A new site was located in 1988, in a series of old early-20th century light industrial buildings on the west side of downtown Atlanta. As a result of a phased renovation program from 1989-1994 in this new space, Nexus became a catalyst for urban renewal in the historic industrial district, which has allowed the organization to fulfill far more ambitious programming goals, including major programs in conjunction with the 1996 Summer Olympic Games Cultural Olympiad. In 1999, the Board voted to change the institution’s name from Nexus Contemporary Art Center to Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (The Contemporary), which became effective in 2000. During the summer of 2004, IMAGE Film & Video, moved its offices into the 535 Means Street campus. This collaboration offers both organizations the opportunity to share resources and conduct joint programming reaching a larger, more diverse audience. PROGRAMS The Contemporary has four main program areas: Exhibitions, Artist Studios, Education and Outreach programming. We serve as a link between the artists’ imagination and the audience’s curiosity, creating an arts center unlike any other in the city. The Contemporary focuses on presenting the best contemporary art and arts programs available from the most interesting and stimulating artists, curators, arts historians and collectors of our day.
2c. Exhibition / Programming / Publishing History.: 
Exhibitions The Contemporary is consistently rated as one of Atlanta’s best venues for art exhibitions. A look at recent exhibitions provides a sense of the adventurous yet approachable spirit that shapes the Contemporary’s work and its audiences. Our fall 2005 exhibition, Red Beans and Rice: Asian Artists in the New South, served to expose audiences to the work of thirteen Asian and Asian-American artists working in the South. The show is currently traveling to two other venues. Our winter 2005 exhibition, What Business Are You In?, was selected by Atlanta’s Creative Loafing as the number one art show of 2005. Hew Locke: House of Cards, at the Contemporary in the fall of 2004, was the first American showing for this rising British artist on the international arts scene. This show was organized in collaboration with the Luckman Fine Arts Gallery at California State University-Los Angeles. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Contemporary, “is just the place for… exhibitions at the cutting edge, such as video installations and computer art…painting and performance.” Artist Studios Supporting and nurturing Atlanta and regional artists has been a central focus of the Contemporary from the beginning. The Artist Studio Program provides 14 studios at below market rent. This program fosters a collaborative environment supportive of the creative process. Emerging, mid-career, and established artists are invited to apply for studios and selection is made by a panel of our current Board Members, studio artists, staff and representatives from the Atlanta community. With the Contemporary’s increasing national and international visibility, these local artists are able to connect with artists from around the world. This serves to enhance their individual growth and enriches their artistic contribution to the Atlanta region. Education Programs Every exhibition is accompanied by symposia, workshops, forums or informal discussion/gallery talks that open the door for dialogue and the exchange of ideas and opinions about the latest Contemporary presentation. Expanded arts education programs expose audiences of all ages to new ideas and practices in the art world. For instance, Contemporary Art: A Users Guide is an annual series of classes and forums bringing renowned art historians, educators and curators to Atlanta to discuss today’s cultural and artistic trends and the historical contexts from which they arose. Community Outreach In the last few years, the Contemporary has concentrated outreach resources on developing its nationally recognized Artist Survival Skills program, now in its fourth year. Artist Survival Skills is a program designed specifically for the artist community in Atlanta. Its goal is to present and teach non-fine arts skills that allow artists to strategically plan and conduct their careers. Panels, speakers and workshops provide necessary information and basic skills to the artists on topics from copyright protection of artwork and commercial gallery relationships to alternative exhibition venues and finding studio space to writing a resume. The popularity and demand for the program can best be summarized in a quote from a participant in last year’s program: “An invaluable opportunity to hear from a panel of experienced professionals -- there is no other source for this information.”
Part 4.
4a. Is organization currently active?: 
4b. Year activity suspended if no longer active.: 
Organization Still Active
Part 5.
5a. Type of organization at its founding.: 
Non-Profit [IRS certified]
5b. Type of organization currently, or at the termination of activities.: 
Non-Profit [IRS certified]
Part 6.
6a. Does the organization have an archive?: 
6b. Are there any short or long-term threats to the organization?: 
None / Not Applicable
6c. Other threats to the organization:: 
Difficulty in developing depth of leadership at the Board of Directors level to assure continued vision to grow organization into the future. We can definitely survive, but we’d rather grow and thrive.
Part 7.
7a. How important is to the organization to preserve the organization’s historical material. From 1 – Very Important to 5 – Not Important.: 
7b. Has planning for the preservation and documentation of archive begun?: 
7c. Does the organization know how and where to seek expertise and assistance?: 
7d. Does the organization have specific concerns regarding starting an archive working with its historic materials?: 
Drain on Existing Staff Time
Part 8.
8a. Is the organization's archives in the collection of another institution or promised to one?: 
8a. Location: 
IF YES to 8: University (Name)
8b. Archival materials are also located at:: 
Where are these locations?: 
1. Off-site rented storage space in records storage facility 2. Former Board Members
Part 9.
9. Does the organization maintain archives for any other organization.: 
IF YES to 9: 10a. Please describe:
Part 10a.
10a. Is the archive accessible to scholars, curators or researchers?: 
Part 10b.
10b. Are there conditions of access for scholars, curators or researchers?: 
Part 10c.
10c. How are arrangements made for access to archive?: 
Must make an appointment when appropriate staff or volunteers are available on site to supervise access.
Part 11.
The following questions address the historical materials (type, quantity and storage) of the organization. 11a. Paper Files and Documents: 
Artist Files
Board Minutes
Exhibition or Production Files
Financial Records
Legal Documents
By-laws / Incorporation Documents
Other Paper Files
11b. Artwork and Documentation: 
Other Artwork
11c. Press and Promotional Materials: 
Announcements, Mailing Cards, etc.
Newspaper / Magazine / Media Clippings
Posters / Flyers
Other Press or Promotional Materials:
11d. Printed Publications: 
Artists' Publications
Broadsides / Small Press
Programs of Events
Publication or Merchandise Catalogues
Other Printed Publications
11e. Other: 
Architectural Drawings / Floor Plan
Layouts / Sketches / Instructions for Installations
Part 12.
12. What years does the materials cover?: 
Part 13.
13a. How is the material stored?: 
Banker Boxes
File Cabinets
13b. Are some or all of these storage units “archival”?: 
I don’t know
Part 14.
14a. Estimated Number of Boxes or Milk-Crate Sized Storage Units: 
91 - 1000
14b. Estimated Number of Archive Drawers: 
11 - 20
14c. Estimated Number of Archive Notebooks: 
51 - 60
14d. Estimated the total Linear Feet. ["Linear Feet" is standard measure of the quantity of archival materials on the basis of shelf space occupied or the length of drawers in vertical files or the thickness of horizontally filed materials. For example, a: 
I don’t know
Part 15.
15. Is the historical materials - or archives - inventoried or catalogued in any way, either formally or otherwise?: 
Part 16.
16a. Is there a key, index or finding aid to the materials inventoried?: 
Part 16 / Electronic Files & Archival Management
16f. Does the organization have a back-up program, or back-up schedule, for its electronic records and perform monitoring of its removable media (i.e. floppies, ZIP disks, CD-ROMs, DVDs, portable hard drives, etc.)?: 
16g. Who is responsible for working with the archival material?: 
General Staff
Part 17.
17. How are new materials processed?: 
Manual System (Card File, File Folders)
Part 18.
18. What, if any, conservation methods are in place for both physical materials and electronic data?: 
Controlled Access
Part 19.
19. What type of climate-controls are present in the area[s] in which the archives are stored?: 
Standard office heating / air conditioning / humidity controls running 24 hours / 7 days
Part 20.
20a. What are the goals for the historical materials for the next year?: 
continued manual archiving
20b. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these short-term goals?: 
lack of staff time
20c. What goals are in place for the historical materials for the next three to five years?: 
Have historical materials catalogued and uniformly boxed/stored
20d. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these long term goals?: 
20e. Are there any additional goals for the organizations historic materials?: 
Part 21.
21. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next year.: 
$5,001 - $7,500
Part 22.
22. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next five years.: 
$20,001 - $25,000
Part 24.
24. What archival issues could / should visual arts organizations address collectively in the next three to five years? Ranked from 1 (highest priority) to 5 (lowest priority).24a. Shared standards / protocols for digitization: 
Promote professional standards / protocols for digitization
Part 25.
25a. Is the organization a member of, or in contact with, any organizations concerned with archival issues?: 
Atlanta Contemporary Art Center
Who executed this survey.: 
Rob Smulian, Executive Director
Is this survey complete and all appropriate questions answered?: