Monday, March 19, 2012

NGA Images: High Resolution Images and Open Access Policy at the National Gallery of Art

On Friday the National Gallery of Art (NGA) announced the launch of its new online image resource, NGA Images. Here you can find  over 20,000 high-resolution open access images from the NGA collection. These images depict works that the NGA believes to be in the public domain, and are available free of charge for any commercial or non-commercial use. There is no need to seek permission before using these images.

"As the Gallery marks its 71st anniversary, it is fitting that we introduce NGA Images and an accompanying open access policy, which underscore the Gallery's mission and national role in making its collection images and information available to scholars, educators, and the general public," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. "In turn this supports research, teaching, and personal enrichment; promotes interdisciplinary research; and nurtures an appreciation of all that inspires great works of art."

This is good news for scholars, and represents the continuation of a welcome trend in museums to make public domain images freely available.

See the NGA press release here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Public Art Archive and WESTAF

I've recently been in contact with a Visual Resources Association colleague who works for the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), a regional non-profit arts service organization "dedicated to the creative advancement and preservation of the arts." This conversation reminded me about the Public Art Archive, an interesting WESTAF project that is still in beta. Selected pilot organizations have begun importing their collections into the archive; these include the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, the Oregon Arts Commission, the City of New Haven, and the City of Las Vegas Arts Commission.

You can do a keyword search for public artworks by artists, places, materials, etc., then refine your search by artist name, date, artwork type, material, etc. Each work's entry page includes authoritative and detailed description information; a selection of thumbnails; a Google map;  a link to the artist's Web site; and video and audio files when available.

The archives About page describes ways that the Public Art Archive will become increasingly useful to artists and artist agencies, the general public, and researchers, and  public art administrators. I look forward to seeing how this resource develops.

WESTAF's other activities are also of interest to those who produce, study, and manage visual culture. These include:
  • GO:GrantsOnline™,  fully customizable, robust, and flexible online grants management system
  •™ (CaFÉ™), an online application and adjudication management system used by public art programs, galleries, museums, and educational institutions to manage public art commissions, exhibitions, fellowships, and visual art competitions
  •, an online arts job bank that lists national opportunities for arts administrators and others as well as internships, grants, public art projects, and residencies
  •, an online gallery that allows visual artists to showcase their work and connect with private collectors, gallery owners, interior designers, corporate art buyers, public art administrators, and general art enthusiasts
  •®, an online application and adjudication management system used by more than 400 art fairs, festivals, and shows
  • CreativeSpaceAgent™, an online system that matches artists, musicians, and other creative people seeking studio, rehearsal, or performance space with those offering spaces for lease or purchase (currently deployed in the Denver metro area)
  • Creative Vitality™ Index (CVI™), a sophisticated creative economy report that measures and provides highly reliable and comparable data about the health and vitality of an area's creative sector, including for-profit and non-profit endeavors, businesses, and organizations. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Share Interactive Images with ThingLink

Would you find it useful to share interactive images you have tagged with notes and links to Web sites? If so, you might want to give ThingLink a try. This tool lets you create hot spots on images, which when clicked on reveal the notes that you have added and lead the viewer to the Web sites of your choosing. You can tag individual images or enable ThingLink for your entire site. It's easy to use, with a free basic account that should provide most instructors and students with the features they need. In just a few minutes I registered for an account, uploaded the image above, and created some tags for it. Once I had saved my work I simply copied the embed code that was provided and pasted it into this post, and I was also given the option to share a link to the tagged image on the ThingLink site (

ThingLink provides ways to create more active engagement with images. Of course, you can link to sites featuring text, but with links to video and audio files an image might also serve as a multimedia launcher. There is an option to allow anyone to edit an image, so you could have students interact with images you have posted, or have them post and tag their own images as part of an assignment. There are lots of possibilities here -- we would love to know if you decide to use ThingLink in your teaching.

Image: profzucker (Steven Zucker), Jacques-Louis David, The Oath of the Horatii in frame with viewer (detail), 2011, available from Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.