As you may recall, the Old Jail Art Center designated 2017 as the "Year of the Membership" and successfully increased our membership by about 120 percent. 2018 will be the "Year of Conservation" and will encompass a variety of initiatives. Conservation, preservation, sustainability, and stewardship are all related concepts that describe the multiple projects taking place throughout the year.
Efforts to increase funding for much needed conservation and preservation on works in the art and archives collections will focus on the Fort Worth Circle paintings and the original Shackelford County courthouse drawings. The OJAC has already taken the first step in its conservation endeavors by submitting a grant to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to fund a survey of 83 paintings by Fort Worth Circle artists. During that process, it was realized that the OJAC has the largest holding of Fort Worth Circle art works by any museum in the world. The original courthouse drawings on linen in the OJAC's Robert E. Nail Jr. Archives are in need of stabilization and archival framing. These are just two examples on a prioritized list of collections care.
The much-anticipated initial series of video interviews in the Ardon Judd Oral History project administered through the OJAC's Robert E. Nail Jr. Archives will debut in June. This project demonstrates the importance of preserving regional history, while also making that history accessible to visitors, students and researchers. This wealth of information will be valuable resource for research, education and enjoyment for current and future generations.
The OJAC takes another step in sustainability by being awarded a grant from the The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club ® to install solar panels, which will reduce our energy expenses. Sun Club funds will also be provided for education programs that will dovetail with our current curriculum utilizing collection objects to promote stewardship and sustainability of our natural resources. Not only will the OJAC take a leadership role in this important endeavor for our region of Texas, but also reduce operating cost - directing those savings to other programs.
These activities emphasize the imporantance of the OJAC as not only the primary repository of cultural and historical items and information, but also our obligation to protect and preserve that which we hold in public trust.
- Patrick Kelly
Executive Director and Curator of Exhibitions