Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Contact Info: 

Erika Monroe-Kane, Director of Communications
608.257.0158 x 237 or

MMoCA to Expand Access to Art in Permanent Collection

MMoCA to Expand Access to Art in Permanent Collection

Receives Major Grant from Madison Community Foundation

MADISON, WI—The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) will receive $40,000 from the Madison Community Foundation for a two-year project to help increase on-line access to the exceptional artwork in the museum’s permanent collection. The MMoCA permanent collection is recognized for particular strengths in artwork by the Chicago Imagists, Mexican Modernism, contemporary photography, as well as Wisconsin and regional artists.

In fact, MMoCA holds one of the preeminent institutional collections of Imagist paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptures worldwide, and this collection continues to grow as major collectors look to MMoCA as the choice home to gift their Imagist works. The museum will utilize the Madison Community Foundation grant for the Chicago Imagist Online Study Center Initiative, allowing MMoCA to make these holdings broadly accessible by developing a rich, online presence for the works. The initiative will also provide a framework and model for highlighting other strengths of MMoCA’s permanent collection online in the future.

“It is exciting to imagine the educators, art lovers, and collectors that will find value in this online resource,” stated Stephen Fleischman, museum director. “As MMoCA continues to reach individuals beyond its building, this initiative will expand access to and engagement with artworks often only experienced in Madison, within our galleries. Additionally, this effort will help the museum attract additional gifts that will strengthen the collection and build an even greater cultural resource for our community.”

“Madison Community Foundation recognizes the tremendous power and potential of MMoCA’s permanent collection and is enthusiastic about the possibility to both increase access to and expand on it,” stated Tom Linfield, VP of Community Impact at the Community Foundation. “A cultural anchor in our community, MMoCA continues to explore new ways to engage people in the transformative power of art. The Foundation is happy to be a part of that effort.”

This project will help facilitate MMoCA’s mission, which states “The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is an independent organization that exhibits, collects, and preserves modern and contemporary art to provide transformative experiences that educate, reflect, and inspire us as individuals and a community.”

Major project activities of The Chicago Imagist Online Study Center Initiative include:

  • Implementing a new collections management database, replacing an outdated system. The museum’s entire permanent collection of 5,500 artworks (some 400 of which are defined as Chicago Imagist or Chicago School) will be converted to the new system.
  • Photographing and archiving images of all new Imagist artwork acquisitions. Image digitization is essential for online access to the collection, and also facilitates care and stewardship, lessening the need for handling of artworks and increasing opportunities for study and research of the works. At the conclusion of this project, MMoCA’s entire permanent collection will be documented with a digital image.
  • Developing a web subsite which will offer access to MMoCA's entire permanent collection. The site will allow online visitors to easily search the museum’s collection and access detailed artwork information and images. Additionally, the site will include rich, multi-media educational content on the Chicago Imagist movement and individual artists, including scholarly commentary; artist biographies; curriculum resources for educators; artist interview videos; and links to related articles, films, and other resources.

The Chicago Imagist Online Study Center Initiative will support the Madison Community Foundation’s values and priorities by strengthening and enhancing community assets. The final result will facilitate the care and stewardship of MMoCA’s collection for generations to come; will bring attention to an important element of the museum’s collecting practice; and will be an important resource for the community and broader audiences drawn to these significant works.


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