Ask Heather Monthly Feature: Library Fellows

Want to know more about a lesser-known woman artist? The history of NMWA? A history of fashion worn to NMWA Galas? Heather Slania, director of NMWA’s Library and Research Center, will dig through the NMWA Institutional Archives, the Archives of Women Artists, and the vast collection of books under her purview to answer your questions! Email your questions to hslania@nmwa.org and your question may turn up in a future blog post!

2009 Library Fellows award winner Carol A. Beane and Renée Stout, the streets of used to be

2009 Library Fellows award winner Carol A. Beane and Renée Stout, the streets of used to be

What is a Library Fellow?

The Library Fellows are NMWA members who support both our Artist Book collection (which is part of our Curatorial Department) and the Library through their generous support and involvement. This program started in 1989 and is still going strong more than 20 years later.

Half of a Library Fellow’s membership fee goes to supporting the library while the other half supports the Library Fellows Program, an international artist book competition. Every other year, the Fellows award a grant of up to $12,000 to the winner of the competition in order to produce their artist book in a limited edition of 125 copies. The artist who is responsible for the overall creation, design, and realization of the book must be a woman, although collaborative works are allowed and even encouraged.

NMWA's Library and Research Center, open to researchers by appointment

NMWA's Library and Research Center, open to researchers by appointment

As a benefit of membership, each Fellow receives a copy of the book. The winning artist keeps 25 copies as a form of remuneration for their creative efforts. The remaining copies are sold and the money generated from the sale benefits the Library and Research Center.

2005 Library Fellows award winner Vera Khlebnikova, Woman Concerned in Art...

2005 Library Fellows award winner Vera Khlebnikova, Woman Concerned in Art...

The Library Fellows meet once a year, usually in the fall, to review and discuss proposals from artists and select the following year’s winning book. Membership dues are $1,200 per year, and each Fellow’s name appears on a plaque outside the entrance to the reading room. The Fellows also receive an amazing array of membership benefits, including a copy of A Museum of their Own (2009) by NMWA founder Wilhelmina Cole Holladay, museum membership benefits for themselves and a family member/friend, eight guest passes, recognition of support in the Great Hall and our Women in the Arts magazine, invitations to benefits and receptions, and much more.

On November 2, 2011, the Library Fellows will hold their annual meeting, and winner Nicole A. Vanasse will present her award-winning book, Goldilocks. She will discuss her sources of inspiration and describe her creative process. In the afternoon, Kerry McAleer-Keeler, director of the Art and Book Program at the Corcoran School of Art and Design, will talk about the Corcoran’s newly established graduate program and present some examples of her artist’s books.

2006 Library Fellows award winner Beth Weiss, Thoughts on Color, Color of Thoughts

2006 Library Fellows award winner Beth Weiss, Thoughts on Color, Color of Thoughts

Following her talk, Krystyna Wasserman, NMWA’s curator of book arts, will present recent acquisitions of artists’ books to the NMWA collection and books on the museum “wish list.” The meeting will be concluded with a wine toast and a tour of Trove, the new exhibition of works from the NMWA collection, which will include paintings, sculpture, prints, miniatures, and a number of artists’ books.

For additional information about the program or joining as a Library Fellow, visit http://www.nmwa.org/library/program.asp.

—Heather Slania is the director of the Library and Research Center.