Calling all archives. The Society of Rocky Mountain Archivists aims to develop a national public program titled: Archives as Muse that will attract, inspire, and serve regional creatives and guide them as they explore archival collections.

This program aims to engage artists with archives in the hope that artists will create a one-of-a-kind piece that will be performed or displayed, and discussed, at a public arts venue. The event will take place next October 2017 to correlate with National Archives Month.

This program will take a multi-stepped approach and will begin by identifying archives participants. The archives participants will be part of an Archives as Muse Directory. The directory will be given to artists so that they can identify particular collections of interest. The directory will also detail the role of archives and archivists, how to do research in an archives, how to make an appointment, and will provide an abstract, images and contact information for our participating archives.

Using the Archives as Muse Directory, SRMA will send a call for proposals to artists and creatives to participate in the Archives as Muse program. Artists who wish to contend for a spot in the program will visit an archive and–inspired by a collection or item – submit an artist statement, 3-5 images, writings or photographs that demonstrate past work, and a proposal of the work and the archive to be explored. The public program will be held at 6pm on October 26th, 2017, at the McNichols building.

The proposals will be vetted by a juror team of archivists, art curators, writers, and performers. All participating artists, whether selected for the program or not, will be given a free ticket to the public program. The juror team will only be choosing 6-7 artists to present work at the public program.

At the public program, artists who have been selected to present their work will display or perform it during the 1 ½ to 2-hour event (with a fifteen-minute intermission). The public program will also consist of a side-by-side conversation with the artist and the archivist of the collection that inspired the artist; the two will talk about the process of working together. Furthermore, each of these artists will be awarded a $500 honorarium for their time and contribution.

The Archives as Muse program is developed with the hope that it can provide an engaging platform for archivists and artists to work together and that these conversations will contribute to a larger dialogue about archives and the creative process.

What Does it Mean to be an Archives Participant?

To be an archives participant for this program, please register with the Archives as Muse Program Director to internally advertise that your archive or collection is open for this research. Please also sign up to get the word out in the promotion of this program. Any social media that you can create to promote both your involvement with artists and the October public program is appreciated.

To be included as participating archives, please submit the following by February 13th at 5:00 pm:

  • Name of Archive and Institution, address and Website address

  • 150-word description of your archives

  • 3-5 images (high res) of archival materials and appropriate credits if needed

  • Contact information of the Archivist that would be working directly with researchers/artists

  • An institutional logo

Please direct questions and materials to
Jessie de la Cruz
Archives as Muse 2017, Program Director


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