Art Libraries Society of North America | Mountain West Chapter Newsletter




Vol.4, No.3
November/December 2005


past issues

Chair's Column

Travel Award Report

2005 Conference, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Meet Our New Members

Events Around Our Chapter's Region

Web Sites for Art Librarians


Works in Progress

Renewal Time

Chair's Column

ARLIS/Mountain West and Central Plains Chapter Conference

October 27th through 30th, an enthusiastic group of ARLIS members attended activities at the Inn of the Governors and other locations in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  This joint chapter conference included good representation from both the Mountain West and Central Plains chapters and also drew ARLIS/NA members from the East and West coasts as well as Ohio and Illinois. A variety of sessions included: a panel identifying contributions of museums and libraries to Native American research and artwork; a workshop on managing time, money and quality in the library environment; a presentation about primary source research and the visual arts in the 21st century; a workshop on cataloging first aid; a presentation about recruiting new art librarians; and, a paper on team teaching in the art history, studio and liberals arts environment. Reports on these, other sessions, and the various receptions are in this issue of The Mountain Ledger.  If you missed the conference, the reports will provide a good overview of the program.

A special thank you goes to conference planning co-chairs Mari Russell and Eumie Imm-Stroukoff and to committee members Ree Mobley, Allison Colborne, Jenni James, and Stephanie Owen.  Their diligent work and organizational skills produced a highly educational and entertaining conference.

Election for Officers

During the month of December, a ballot for the election of Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect was distributed via email.  A special thank you goes to Allison Colborne for joining me on the Nominations Committee. According to Tom Riedel, the results were unanimous: Lisa Blankenship won Vice Chair/Chair Elect. Congratulations, Lisa!


Remember to renew your memberships at both the national and regional levels.  The Mountain West chapter still needs membership representatives for Montana and Arizona.  Please contact Chair-Elect Marilyn Russell or myself if you are interested.

2006 Mountain West Chapter Conference

Planning for the 2006 conference in Tucson, Arizona, is underway.  Mary Graham and a group of local ARLIS/MW members are examining hotels, restaurants, and local sites.  If you have ideas or suggestions, please contact Mary at .

Anytime you have suggestions or ideas for the chapter, please feel free to contact me or another board member. I have enjoyed working with all of you during this past year and look forward to future successful ARLIS/MW encounters.

Best regards,


Nancy Pistorius, Chair
ARLIS/Mountain West Chapter

Winberta Yao Travel Award Recipient's Report

ARLIS Mountain West and Central Plains Joint Conference
Santa Fe, New Mexico
October 27-30, 2005

Attending the 2005 ARLIS Mountain West and Central Plains joint conference in Santa Fe was an exciting, educational, and enlightening experience for me.  This experience would not have been possible without the assistance of ARLIS Mountain West and the Winberta Yao Travel Award.  I am eternally grateful to have had this opportunity.

This was my second regional conference as an ARLIS MW member and the first I attended as a presenter.  For the past year in my position as Art and Architecture Librarian at the University of Colorado at Boulder I have been actively recruiting new art library professionals from CU’s Department of Art and Art History.  I presented my experiences in a paper titled “Right in our Own Backyard: Recruiting Art Librarians from Art and Art History Programs.”  The feedback I have received from this presentation has given me the courage to submit papers at other venues and turn this presentation into an article.  It is my hope that my experiences will inspire others to recruit and mentor new art library professionals.

One of the big draws to the Santa Fe conference (aside from location) was an excellent and diverse program.  The many outstanding presenters provided useful information and resources on topics that ranged from Native American Research and Artwork to Primary Source Research to Managing Time, Money, and Quality at your Library.  The program left me with the desire to tackle new projects at my library.  The keynote speaker, Barbara Buhler Lynes of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, opened my eyes to the interesting life of Georgia O’Keeffe and her relationship with Santa Fe. 

In addition to the program, conference planners kept attendees very busy with tours of local museums and galleries and several fantastic receptions.  These venues provided me with the opportunity to renew old relationships and to build several new ones.  The relationships I have with ARLIS colleagues have helped to guide my career and have  served as and my primary resource for professional development. 

The opportunity to attend the Santa Fe conference would not have been possible had it not been for the financial assistance afforded me by the Winberta Yao Travel Award.  It is at conferences like this that young librarians build necessary relationships with colleagues and learn about interesting aspects of art librarianship different from their own.  I would like to thank the Winberta Yao Travel Award Committee and my colleagues from ARLIS Mountain West for this wonderful experience. 

Respectfully submitted,

Jennifer Parker
Art and Architecture Librarian
University of Colorado, Boulder

Guidelines for the next award are located at:
The dedline is February 10, 2006. For additional information, contact:

Allison Colborne, Winberta Yao Travel Award Committee
Art Librarian – Chase Art History Library
College of Santa Fe
1600 St. Michael’s Drive
Santa Fe, NM 87505-7634

Conference Reports from Santa Fe Conference

The following are reports from the Central Plains/Mountain West Chapters conference in Santa Fe, NM, October 27–30, 2005.  I believe that everyone who attended found the conference well planned, the information informative, and the tours  enjoyable.  The weather was also agreeable.

Panel Session: “How do Museums and Library Collections Contribute to Native American Artists’ Research and Artwork?”

Hartman Lomawaima, Director, Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona

To provide a setting for the Hopi point of view, Lomawaima introduced several Hopi words. Peena means to photograph; to take a cultural survey of one’s life; and, paintings of ceremonies. Kwikwil-yapa is a Hopi Kachina with a striped head or nose and is used in an imitating, or mocking ceremony.  Both of interest and influence for Lomawaima, were the images of Native American Kachinas photographed by Edward Curtis in his ten volume set The North American Indian published 1903-1930. Also in this collection are a number of photographs of the Hopi, among them images of Lomawaima’s relatives and especially of his great-great grandfather.  Scenes of Hopi villages and views of the San Francisco Peaks helped Lomawaima identify with his people from a distant time but in a familiar setting.

Mary Graham, Head Librarian, Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona

Graham described some of the Arizona State Museum’s unique collections often used by Native American artists. These included Navajo rugs and Casa Grande Pottery, the latter being the largest collection outside of Mexico.  Native American artists prefer to examine the artifacts when they are developing their own work. In this way, the artifacts serve as primary source material. Often the artists are looking for traditional or historical designs as well as traditional techniques and symbolic uses.

Of equal value to the Native American artist are published works, especially those by the Bureau of American Ethnology. Its early Annual Reports include numerous detailed drawings of weavings, pottery, and other aspects of material culture.  Of equal usefulness are the Bureau’s expedition reports and other studies. Graham listed a number of monographic titles to compliment an artist’s research. These included: Joe Ben Wheat’s Blanket Weaving in the Southwest (2003), Clyde Kluckhohn’s Navaho Material Culture (1971), Alfred Kidder’s The Artifacts of Pecos (1932), Harold Gladwin’s Excavations at Snaketown (1937-48) and his Excavations at Snaketown: Material Culture (1965 reprint of the original), Amsden’s An Analysis of Hohokam pottery (1936), and Otis Mason’s Aboriginal American Basketry: Studies in a Textile Art without Machinery (1904, reprinted 1970).

Visits to other regional resources will also provide useful information for the artists. The Heard Museum Library has an extensive file, Native American Artists Resource Collection ( that is still growing. Along with other, similar digitization projects under development, the goal is for this collection to be digitized as well. Additionally, archives in libraries and museums often provide valuable yet elusive information for the researcher.  Graham closed by emphasizing that libraries need to continue building collections and promoting them within artistic communities.

Ramona Sakiestewa, Hopi Artist and Scholar, Santa Fe, NM

Rather than use libraries and museums, Sakiestewa collects books and has developed a personal collection which she consults during her creative process.  Favorite titles include:  Ruth Underhill’s Pueblo Crafts (1944, reprinted 1979), Joseph Mora’s The Year of the Hopi (1979), Kate Peck Kent’s Prehistoric Textiles of the Southwest (1983), and Joe Ben Wheat’s Blanket Weaving in the Southwest (2003).  She has also used the collection at the Heard Museum Library and stressed the importance of documenting living Native American artists. Her use of the collection provided her with inspirations regarding the design and characteristics of her own work and interpreting her own culture.

Submitted by
Nancy Pistorius,
University of New Mexico

Keynote Lecture: “O’Keeffe and New Mexico: Identity and Place”

Barbara Buhler Lynes, Curator, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the Emily Fisher Landau Director, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center.

Georgia O’Keeffe began her art studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago during 1905 & 1906. Thereafter, she went to New York to study at the Arts Students League, most notably with William Merritt Chase. O’Keeffe’s first introduction to the West was in 1912 while teaching school in Texas. At that time she fell in love with open spaces, sunsets, and vastness.  She intermittently returned to New York to continue her studies and art work and came to the attention of Alfred Stieglitz in 1916. He displayed her work at his 291 Gallery.

O’Keeffe and Stieglitz married in 1924. This continued a long collaborative relationship with Stieglitz not only as her husband but also her agent with frequent exhibitions of her work in his gallery.  Being married to Stieglitz was often taxing as he lived on energy.

By 1928 she had exhausted the subject resources of Lake George and had need of other sites for inspiration.  In May of 1929 she traveled to New Mexico to spend the summer months painting. During this first visit O’Keeffe was struck by the intensity of light, the open sky, vast landscape, and the vivid colors. She said that she felt New Mexico was “hers.”  Every year thereafter, she would spend part of her time painting in New Mexico. In 1940 she bought the house at Ghost Ranch and in 1945 the Abiquiu house. 

Stieglitz passed away in 1946. After settling his estate, O’Keeffe moved to New Mexico permanently even though she had been painting there for 20 years.  Some questioned whether O’Keeffe’s move to New Mexico was a rejection of New York where her reputation was established. Did she reject New York in favor of moving to remote and isolated New Mexico?  The fact that she continued to exhibit in New York galleries indicates otherwise. She maintained strong ties with the New York art community throughout her life until her death in 1986.  Her move to New Mexico restored her energies and sense of well being.  She created a new identity for herself and on her own terms.

After the move to New Mexico, three retrospectives were held.  O’Keeffe exercised complete control of the selection and installation of her works.  She rejected feminist interpretations of her works, i.e., that they were expressions of the female body or gender oriented.  She indicated that her work was limited to personal interpretation and an appreciation of the work itself.  Her work was representational subject matter with an abstract context.  New Mexico landscapes are representational and one can identify specific landscape forms.  An example from 1940 is the white cliffs series. Specific sites served as the framework for inventive aspects of her career and her return to abstraction.

O’Keeffe worked in solitude in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  She redefined her career and herself after she left New York.  Her self-fulfillment differed from the 1920’s image Stieglitz created for her in New York.  She controlled her career from New Mexico and made New Mexico “O’Keeffe Country.”

Submitted by
Nancy Pistorius,

University of New Mexico

Managing Time, Money & Quality of Your Library

This workshop was presented by Pat Wagner, the LAMA (Library Administration and Management) Regional Institute Trainer for project management.  The following is my interpretation.

The first part of her presentation, “Mastering the Project Map,” consisted of three skills called leadership, managerial, and task.  Pat elaborated on each of the skills in relation to the position one might hold in a library, pointing out that the head of a library (or leader) must anticipate change; the manager needs to maintain the system; and the librarian dealing with patrons needs to react to the moment (the task position). (If one is a solo librarian, the roles may not be as distinguishable.)

A few of the characteristics of the leader (head librarian) are:  vision, risk, influence, and character.  He (I’m using “he” meaning either male or female for easier reading) needs to keep his eyes on the bigger picture. To attain his dreams, 1) he must take risks, 2) plan at least two years ahead, 3) be open to negotiating with other community leaders, and 4) keep his eyes on the destination (goal).

The manager’s job revolves around community, coordination, and translation. This person organizes projects, people, and ideas.  He must know the bigger picture, which will compliment the leader’s goals.  Other ways of maintaining the system are:  coach, mentor, elicit the best of people, watch, listen, know the system, the rules, the policies, the structures, the budget, the schedules, and be a department-level problem solver.  This person needs to know the goals and strategies.  It is best if they are written down, Pat stresses.

The librarian working with the patrons needs skills to react to the moment.  His tasks are the skills of a professional, technical, and clerical support.  He should be detailed and autonomous, keeping his eyes, ears, and hands on the bigger picture.  Action is the key word for this position.  Sometimes it is easy to become so active in the details of day-to-day operations that it becomes the only work.  In other words one sees a lot of action and believes that this is the only work librarians do, including the librarians themselves.  I believe that this is why Pat points out the different levels of operation of a well-run library. 

Along with the different roles of people running a library, there is a project triangle: cost, convenience and quality. Cost includes budget, resources, salaries, investments, and options, to mention a few.  To think miserly (cheap) can lead to false economies.  It may seem economical right now, but in the long run is it wise?

To solve problems and save time (do it fast) for convenience sake can lead to false productivity.  If you have to redo or remake, it hasn’t saved any time, and probably took more time.  

How do we create quality?  Research for the recommended way to do it, or for the product you need; does it feel, look, and sound right?  Does it tie into other values; is it unique, special?  These are subjective questions, but decisions regarding quality can lead to perfection.  (At least for your particular library at the time.  EV.)

The stumbling blocks.  Pat listed 17, and I’ll copy them.

1) We are not honest about the time and money a task takes.

2) We do not say “No Thank You” enough to those things that take us away from our most important work.

3)  We are not allowing for slack, mistakes, and crises.

4) We let other people control us.

5) We don’t ask for what we want explicitly and effectively.

6) We forget our mission.

7) We try to do it all; we don’t ask for help.

8) We rescue others from the consequences of their actions, or we don’t set consequences.

9) We are afraid to speak out, or we don’t know how.

10) We take pride in being too busy and overwhelmed; we have lost the ability to determine when we are making ourselves sick from stress.

11) We have no criteria to use to make decisions.

12) We see competitors, instead of collaborators.

13) We confuse inputs with outcomes.

14) We think we have only two choices.

15) The plans are in our heads translates to: THERE ARE NO PLANS

16) We do not have a way of measuring success and failure.

17) We put on bandages instead of fixing root problems.

I felt that Pat was well-versed and provided excellent information.

Submitted by Ellie Vaughter
Librarian, Platt College

Session: “Reference with a Twist: Team Teaching in Art History, Studio, and Liberal Arts Environment”
Allison Colborne, Art Librarian, College of Santa Fe.

Colborne’s paper explored the dynamics of teaching bibliographic instruction through an interactive dialogue between librarian, faculty and students.

Implementing bibliographic instruction through traditional venues resulted frequently with signs of inattention among the students.  Colborne began experimenting with different approaches in order to find a good mix that would enliven and enrich the sessions.  She arrived at three different approaches.

The first was team teaching. The class would come to the library and Colborne and the professor would initiate a dialogue concerning a topic.  Each would point out different elements of an art work and would utilize monographs from the library collection to illustrate a related concept or idea.  This way the students were assisted in developing their own personal level of visual literacy.  Planning for scheduled class visits utilized the same skills used to conduct reference interviews to determine what materials are needed.  Materials identified by the instructor are placed on the reading room tables.  The dialogue between instructor and librarian takes place then students are encouraged to stay and continue looking at the books pulled on their behalf.

Another approach was to plan and curate exhibitions of materials from the collections which focused on a specific event or extended classroom topic.  Often exhibitions correlated with programs in the School’s Atrium Gallery.  These provide opportunities to highlight monographs from the James Enyeart and Roxanne Malone collection in the Reading Room of the Newhall Library.

The third approach utilized the previous instructor and librarian dialogue approach only this time in to analyze a piece of Cupisnique pottery.  During the “in the library” session, books with examples of similar pottery and on the hand building, decorating and firing techniques were also explored.  This combination dialogue and presentation incorporated hands-on analyses and interaction with printed references and the expertise and authority of the instructor.

By developing collaborative techniques and offering interactive sessions, Colborne and the faculty at her institution are providing engaging opportunities for presenting the usefulness of the library’s resources in daily study and research activities.

Submitted by
Nancy Pistorius
University of New Mexico

Tour of the Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol Flowers of Distinction and

Reception: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center

On Friday, October 28, 2005 members and guests of ARLIS Mountain West and ARLIS Central Plains had the opportunity to take a docent led tour of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum which included a tour of the exhibition “Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol, Flowers of Distinction” sponsored by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.  The exhibition brought together forty paintings and drawings of flowers by the two artists and showcased how they were able to distinguish themselves as unique contributors to the genre of flower painting.  The docents provided interesting anecdotes of both O’Keeffe’s and Warhol’s painting and enhanced the experience.

The keynote speaker spoke following the tour, then from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., the Research Center sponsored a reception for ARLIS attendees on its patio.  A sunny, crisp Fall afternoon provided the setting for members from both chapters and museum personnel to relax and converse over wine, soft drinks and tasty hors d’oeuvres.  Additionally, Eumie Imm-Stroukoff, Librarian, Archivist and Assistant Director, hosted tours of the Research Center. This reception was a relaxing interlude to what had been a fully programmed day.

Submitted by
Jennifer Parker
Art and Architecture Librarian
University of Colorado, Boulder

Meet Our New Members


Greetings, fellow MW members!  I had a warm welcome from many members of this chapter at the Santa Fe conference, and I look forward to meeting more of you in the future.

I have had the pleasure of working with many wonderful ARLIS members at various Southern California institutions, including The Getty Center, The Huntington Library, UCLA, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Foundation, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  I moved to Utah from Los Angeles in Fall 2004, and I am currently a Librarian at the Salt Lake City Public Library. 

I have a BA in Art History and MLIS from UCLA.  I have been a member of ARLIS/NA and the Southern California Chapter since 1998.  I served as Vice-Chair and Chair of the SC Chapter in 2000 and 2001, and on various committees for ARLIS/NA since 2000.  I currently serve on the Internship Award and Professional Development committees of ARLIS/NA. 

I look forward to participating in the activities of the Mountain West Chapter, and I am anxious to take part in hosting the 2007 conference in Salt Lake City. 

Angel Lopez Moyes
Librarian, Salt Lake City Public Library
Attn: L4
210 East 400 South
Salt Lake City, UT  84111

Events Around Our Chapter's Region

Santa Fe

(This is published with apologies to Eumie for the lateness, but I feel it is still relevant. ed.)

In January, 2005, The Henry Luce Foundation gave the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe a $100,000 grant to catalog an archive it received in 2003 from William I. Homer. Homer was a leading scholar of American modern art and photography. A spokesman for the museum said the archive includes extensive correspondence pertaining to Homer’s research during a long career as teacher and historian, as well as records of interviews he had with many leading American artists including O’Keeffe, who lived out her final years as a painter in Santa Fe and died in 1986.

The museum’s research center opened in 2001 with the stated goal of helping the public understand the modern art movement in the United States beginning in the 1890s. The grant will make it possible for the museum to house the large Homer archive and digitize it so that it will be available to other institutions on CD-ROM and the Internet.

The Luce Foundation was set up by the founder of the Time-Life publishing empire and has been a leader in providing visible storage-study centers for American museums. The latest such center was opened at the Brooklyn Museum in New York in January 2004, providing public access to 1,500 objects from the museum’s reserve collections.


Museum online

The Clyfford Still Museum proudly announces the launching of

[Re]inventing the Wheel
Advancing the Dialogue: Critical Issues in Contemporary American Indian Art

Symposium January 28, 2006 at Denver Art Museum

On June 21, 2005 the Denver Art Museum dedicated Wheel, a major outdoor sculpture by Edgar Heap of Birds. As part of its ongoing commitment to contemporary American Indian art the museum will present a series of symposia to address critical issues in contemporary American Indian art.

For the better part of two decades, scholars and artists in the field of American Indian art have lamented the lack of inclusion/acceptance of Indian art in the mainstream, and have debated the language of criticism of that art with no seeming answers. This symposium is intended to stimulate and advance dialogue on several American Indian art issues among curators, scholars, art critics, artists, and students. It will explore questions on categorizing contemporary American Indian art: Is this category valid and identifiable? If so, then how do we display, discuss, and critique it? If not, then what?

It will also address issues surrounding ethnicity, gender, and history: Is the segregation of this art by ethnicity self-imposed or externally imposed? What are the implications of stereotypes of Indians and Indian art for advancing the dialogue? Is art a weapon in critiquing history, gender and sexuality issues? Is it a tool to build cross-cultural understanding and promote healing and renewal?

[Re]inventing the Wheel also presents an artist’s perspective on the history of Colorado natives and global issues of indigenous people.

This symposium will be structured to facilitate open discussion around these issues of critical importance to the field today.

Nancy Blomberg, curator, Denver Art Museum
Edgar Heap of Birds, artist and professor of art, University of Oklahoma
Lucy Lippard, art critic and scholar
Nancy Mithlo, assistant professor of anthropology, Smith College
Polly Nordstrand, assistant curator, Denver Art Museum
Moyo Okediji, professor of art history, University of Colorado, Denver, and consulting curator, Denver Art Museum
Jackson Rushing, professor of art history, University of Texas, Dallas
Alfred Youngman, artist and professor of Native American studies, University of Lethbridge, Canada

Advanced registration is preferred.
Questions? Please contact Heather Ahlstrom at 720-913-0162

Websites for Art Librarians

For web sites that our librarians find helpful, see the guide to Free Art Resources on the Web, on the ARLIS/NA web site . Also, look for upcoming specialized web resources for the Mountain West region in our very own chapter website.

At our business meeting, it was decided that this is where to look for them.

Please forward useful websites to Ellie for our next edition!


Joyce Henderson, the Visual Resources Curator for the last 26 1/2 years, is retiring from her position at the University of Arizona on January 19, 2006. 

She took her “school of hard knocks” training (as she calls it) at Penn State as a student assistant and assistant curator for 4 years.  After this she took a position at SUNY-Binghamton, NY for 2 ½ years.

She says, “It seems like only yesterday, but it was in 1979 that I joined the Arizona Chapter of ARLIS/NA. So I am retiring from a profession I have been in for 32 years! My plans for the future are tentative - travel, visit friends and relatives.  Then maybe back to school for a degree in Digital Arts or who knows.”

Joyce C. Henderson
Associate Slide Curator
University of Arizona School of Art
P.O.Box 210002
Tucson, AZ 85721-0002
phone:  (520)621-1202

Works in Progress

The Hollywood Librarian:  Librarians in Cinema and Society.

Did you know that Katherine Hepburn’s sister is a librarian in Connecticut?  (She doesn’t much look like Katherine did.)

Ann Seidl, MLIS, talked to a group of us librarians here in Denver a few months ago.  She is young, vivacious, animated, and totally dedicated to making this film about librarians.  She wants desperately to change the public’s image of librarians.

In her film, up to this point, she has clips of old movies, which refer to librarians in stereotype expressions along with the typical portrait of a stereotype librarian.  But she also has some clips that show “now” type librarians.

Ann has already interviewed many current librarians from many different states.  One of them started singing for her, demonstrating her avocation. 

Ann found out about a library in New York City that was having an anniversary celebration (I think it was a centennial).  She also found out that Martin Scorsese used  that library as a kid.  She told the library administrators; they called Martin; he came to the celebration.  At the celebration he told a story about a book that he repeatedly checked-out.  It was a book on filmmaking.  Finally, he admitted to tearing out one of the pages because he really wanted the information it contained.  At the celebration, he presented the library with a new film book, along with the confession.

These are two of the stories that I recall Ms. Seidl telling the group that was gathered to listen to her.  She has received grants totaling $85,000 which has helped her come this far, but she is now asking 2000 librarians who can, to donate $50.00 each to help her attain her goal of finishing her documentary film.  There is a wealth of information at this website:

Some of you may already know about her because she graduated from the University of Denver and has worked in and around Denver (and Florida) in the radio field.  A story about her came up on ARLIS-L, sent by J. Franklin.

Ellie Vaughter
Librarian, Platt College

Renewal Time

ARLIS/MW CHAPTER DUES ARE DUE. Tom Riedel reminds us that our yearly dues are now due for 2006.


Editor:  Ellie Vaughter, Platt College

Online Publisher:  Chris Ramsey, Brigham Young University

4 January 2006