Survey: Center for Book Arts

Posted August 05, 2010 by Anonymous
Part 1.
Year Founded: 
1b. Primary activity[ies] of the organization.: 
Art Center: Exhibition Space, Artmaking Courses, Working Studio Space, & Literary Arts,
1c. Organization's annual budget.: 
$250,001 - $500,000
1b. Primary activity[ies] of the organization.: 
Part 2.
2a. Mission Statement: 
The Center for Book Arts is dedicated to the preservation of traditional bookmaking practices, as well as encouraging contemporary intepretations of the book as an art object.
Website Link to Mission Statement:
2b. Organization History / Organizational Overview. Index of important events in organization's history.: 
Founded in 1974, it was the first not-for-profit book arts organization of its kind in the nation, and has since become a model for others around the world. The Center was first located in the SoHo area of NYC for over 25 years. In 1990, after many years of renting, it purchased a loft-like space in the Flatiron/Chelsea area.
Website Link to Organization's History / Organization Overview:
2c. Exhibition / Programming / Publishing History.: 
The Center organizes exhibitions related to the art of the book and offers an extensive selection of education courses, workshops, and seminars in traditional and contemporary bookbinding, letterpress printing, papermaking, and other associated arts. The Center’s fully equipped printshop and bindery are used by artists to create new works both based on traditional bookmaking and contemporary artistic practices. The Center also provides services to artists, including an intern/workstudy program, produces special publications, and maintains an artist’s slide registry. Additionally, the Center presents a wide array of literary programs, including Poetry Readings and seminars for emerging writers. Link to exhibition archive:
Website Link to Exhibition / Programming / Publishing History:
Part 3.
3a. Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals:: 
Richard Minsky
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Michael Held
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Barbara Mauriello
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Mindell Dubansky
3b. Could any of these individuals assist in providing an oral history of your organization?: 
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?: 
6c. Other threats to the organization:: 
It is always difficult to raise money to sustain programming. Space is limited and our archives, due to lack of funds and space, do not receive proper attention and care.
Part 7.
All of the above, fiscal strain, staff limitations, space concerns.
7a. How important is to the organization to preserve the organization’s historical material. From 1 – Very Important to 5 – Not Important.: 
1. Very 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?: 
Other Concerns - Please describe below.
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?: 
Past board members and numerous artists who worked at the Center.
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?: 
One must call and arrange to visit the archives with our staff Registrar/Administrator. The visitor must also be physically able to climb ladders and bend low to retrieve files.
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: 
Audiotapes [Any Format]
Oral History, Recordings and / or Transcripts
Prints / Lithographs / Etchings / Screenprints / etc.
Unique Art Objects
Other Artwork. Please describe below.
Book arts, artist’s books, prints, and posters.
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
Commercially Published Materials
Checklists / Performance Programs / Price Lists
Programs of Events
Publication or Merchandise Catalogues
Other Printed Publications
11e. Other: 
Layouts / Sketches / Instructions for Installations
Layouts / Sketches / Instructions for Performances
Mock-Ups / Models / Prototypes
Part 12.
12. What years does the materials cover?: 
Part 13.
13a. How is the material stored?: 
Banker Boxes
Other Boxes
File Cabinets
Flat Files
Three-Ring Binders
13b. Are some or all of these storage units “archival”?: 
Part 14.
14a. Estimated Number of Boxes or Milk-Crate Sized Storage Units: 
100 - 150
14b. Estimated Number of Archive Drawers: 
1 - 10
14c. Estimated Number of Archive Notebooks: 
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: 
151 - 200
Not applicable
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?: 
16b. Paper-based:: 
Written or Typewritten Inventories
16c. Electronic Based:: 
Word Processing Document [i.e. Word]
Spreadsheet [i.e. Excel]
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?: 
Other - Please describe below.
Please describe: 
Registrar/Administrator (Librarian)
Part 16 / Database
16d. What type of database software is in use?: 
Microsoft Access
16e. If FileMakerPro, what version? Please describe below.: 
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
Fireproof Cabinet
Part 19.
19. What type of climate-controls are present in the area[s] in which the archives are stored?: 
No or minimal climate controls [i.e. in an attic, basement, unheated / uncooled storage area, etc.]
Part 20.
20a. What are the goals for the historical materials for the next year?: 
Continue archiving
20b. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these short-term goals?: 
20c. What goals are in place for the historical materials for the next three to five years?: 
Continue archiving
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.: 
$35,001 - $40,000
Part 22.
22. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next five years.: 
Part 23.
23d. Other - Please describe below.: 
Hiring professionals to arrange and describe archival material
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?: 
Part 26.
26. Additional information, comments, observations, and questions.: 
As stated before, I think the most dangerous threat to institutional archives is well-meaning staff who are untrained in handling historical records. Old records, that seem to be of no importance, are constantly in danger of being thrown out in the interest of space. For arts organizations, it seems the emphasis is always on preserving the artwork, or creative output, and the administrative or institutional records are unimportant. Hiring archive professionals is of utmost importance in order to preserve an organization’s heritage. And, of course, this means paying them a professional salary, which is difficult for nonprofit arts organizations--difficult to afford financially and difficult to justify to Boards of Directors, who are generally ignorant of professional archival practices. Another note: This question is very difficult to answer in YES or NO. Is your archive accessible to scholars, curators or researchers? Recently we separated the banker boxes containing old exhibition files from all the rest of the boxes. (None of which have ever been arranged or described, no finding aids). This was in preparation for our 30th anniversary exhibition and the curator needed access to these files. Other than these boxes, nothing else is truly accessible.
The Center for Book Arts
Is this survey complete and all appropriate questions answered?: