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Legacy Art Project

Many of you have heard me speak of the GNSI Legacy Art Project, or remember reading something about it in a past newsletter. Now that we have a potential institution interested in hosting our archives, I would like to refresh your memories and ask your assistance.

GNSI members have a wealth of scientific illustrations accompanied by decades of research and sketches. An archive of these works is appealing for family members not wishing to keep every file or piece of paper forever, and for illustrators who want to make their life’s work accessible to a broad range of students, researchers and budding illustrators.

How wonderful it would be to have a physical archive of our works that could be studied for generations. What a legacy for the GNSI and each of us to be permanently installed in an institution that will make our projects live on indefinitely and where we can go to study our colleagues’ works.

This will not be a dumping ground for cartons of “what should I do with this…don’t really want to throw it out….don’t want to keep it….running out of space…..”. There will be a selection process; the GNSI and our host institution will determine what is appropriate to include. Individual members will decide what they would like considered. Future goals include a digital archive as well. In order to make this project a reality, we need to present our host with specifics, and this is where we need your help. If you have the slightest interest in housing some of your works in a permanent archive of scientific illustrators, now or in the future, please answer the following questions. You may mail or email me directly with your answers, or you can answer the electronic questionnaire online.

Image 3: Example of one illustration and the materials associated with producing it. All fit neatly in a 12" x 16" labeled envelope. © Gretchen Halpert 2012


1. What can you imagine contributing?
For example: 50 pieces of flat artwork on insects of the Pacific Northwest, accompanied by 200 sketches and two notebooks detailing the habits and habitats of these insects OR five 12”x16”x6” cartons of drawings of birds, mammals and plants in various stages of completion OR 15 nature sketchbooks OR all my work is digital and I would contribute 30 years of digital files of my work from conception to completion, along with some printed versions.

2. When can you imagine contributing work?
Example: “x” now and/or “x” in 10 years

3. Would you be able to catalogue your work?
Create a written list documenting the contents? You would be given forms to facilitate documentation.

4. Would you be able to catalogue your work in terms of a digital archive?
Would you have any capability to provide your documents in electronic form, or produce a catalogue in a spreadsheet format such as Excel?

5. Would contributing funding toward this archive be a possibility?
Many artists donate their works to museums and include funding to help house the collection, either directly or as a trust. Please be as specific as possible what sort of finacial donation you would consider to help preserve the archive. 

Thank you for taking the time to help us make a national GNSI archive a possibility. To keep the momentum rolling and institutions interested, I ask you to reply sooner rather than later. Your responses are an expression of interest at this stage, not a commitment.

We have the opportunity to share our legacy with future generations. Your participation can make it happen!

If you would like to help with this project, or find out more about contributing artworks, contact:
Gretchen Halpert
GNSI Legacy Art Project Director
ghalpert@stny.rr.com