DMA Awarded National Leadership Grant from IMLS

Museum Receives Over Half a Million Dollars To Prototype and Launch the Arts Network

The Dallas Museum of Art announced today that it has received a prestigious National Leadership grant of $519,435 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to advance the Arts Network, a sustainable technology model. Designed to build digital resources and connect visitors with art and creativity, the Arts Network will fully utilize the Museum’s website and 375,000 square foot wireless environment to promote even more engaging experiences with art. Specifically, the award will be used to expand the Museum’s multimedia content library and deliver programming that will dramatically enhance visitor access via web-enabled devices. It will also extend the Museum’s original audience research, Levels of Engagement with Art (LOEA), and fund new staff.

Scheduled for launch by fall 2009, the two-year Arts Network project will develop a web-based content delivery system for “on demand” visitor access. This flexible system will provide audiences with customizable interpretive materials and information about exhibitions, special events and programs. Whether in the galleries, at home, or even in a local Starbucks, anyone with access to the Internet and an interest in the artists or works of art in the encyclopedic collections will have the ability to interact with the Museum’s digital content library. Visitors will quickly find and download high-quality digital images; video and sound clips of artists, curators, scholars, performances, and teaching units related to the artists and works of art in the collections; as well as other related links.

The Arts Network supports the DMA’s educational mission and commitment to utilizing technology to enhance lifelong learning and, once completed, will eventually serve as a core programming element in the new Center for Creative Connections. Through this project, the Museum will also use the Levels of Engagement with Art framework to gain important new insights about users’ preferences and interests that will be shared with other museums around the world.

“This major grant from one of this nation’s distinguished government agencies represents an important investment in the Museum’s future and an endorsement of our commitment to innovation, change and best practice,” said Dr. John R. Lane, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. “This project is a tremendous opportunity for the DMA to better serve our diverse audiences. We are most grateful to the Institute of Museum and Library Services for this award.”

The Arts Network model is the Museum’s plan to use technology to connect the broadest audience with great works of art in diverse ways. “Museum visitors will now be able to see more than ever before, explore activities based on interests, listen to tours, lectures, and music, and learn more about art and the creative process,” explained Bonnie Pitman, Deputy Director of the DMA. “From webcasts to backgrounds on specific paintings to downloading personalized audio tours, all that a visitor, potential visitor, or distance learner may want to know will be conveniently available.”

Highly innovative, the Arts Network project is a unique approach to museum content management and delivery. Rather than ask the question “How will we deliver our content?,” the Museum seeks answers to “What kind of content do we want to deliver?” and “What kind of content do visitors want?” Through the Arts Network, the DMA is paving the way for a whole new museum experience.

In acknowledging the DMA’s award, Dr. Anne-Imelda M. Radice, Director of the IMLS said,

“Cultural institutions energize their communities not just by preserving culture, heritage and knowledge but by supporting life-long learning and engagement. National Leadership grants harness the work of the best of these institutions. By promoting innovation and partnerships, this award allows the DMA to create a national model that addresses the challenges of the broader library and museum communities, and helps strengthen their impact.”

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
 The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.

About the Center for Creative Connections:
The Center for Creative Connections at the Dallas Museum of Art will be an experimental learning environment that provides interactive encounters with works of art and artists.  Designed to stimulate curiosity, inquiry, and reflection in visitors of all ages and learning styles, the Center for Creative Connections will serve as a bridge between the everyday experiences of looking and the transformational experiences of seeing, creating, and connecting deeply with works of art and with other participants. Its building and implementation is a primary component of the Campaign for a New Century. Construction began in August 2007 and will be completed in February 2008; the Museum plans to open the Center this coming spring.

About the Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art, established in 1903, has an encyclopedic collection of more than 23,000 works, spanning 5,000 years of history and representing all media, with renowned strengths in the arts of the ancient Americas, Africa, Indonesia and South Asia; European and American painting, sculpture and decorative arts; and American and international contemporary art.

The Dallas Museum of Art is the anchor of the Dallas Arts District and serves as the cultural magnet for the city with diverse programming ranging from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary readings, dramatic and dance presentations, and a full spectrum of programs designed to engage people of all ages with the power and excitement of art.

The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.