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Rutgers librarian/art historian wins national arts award

Ferris Olin

The College Art Association (CAA) Committee on Women in the Arts and the Women's Caucus for Art (WCA) will present a joint annual award to recognize women arts professionals who have made major contributions to the visual arts, art history, and arts administration, to Ferris Olin of the Rutgers University Libraries. She will receive the honor at a CAA-WCA awards ceremony at the New York Hilton on the evening of February 17th. Olin is a former member of the Board of Directors of CAA and served as the organization's Vice-President for Committees.

Dr. Olin is the head of the Margery Somers Foster Center, A Resource Center and Digital Archive on Women, Scholarship, and Leadership, based at the Douglass Library. She is curator of the Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series at the Douglass Library, the longest continuously running exhibition series dedicated to making visible the work of emerging and established contemporary women artists; and project co-director, with Rutgers emeritus art professor Judith Brodsky, of the Women Artists Archives National Directory (WAAND), a web portal for archival collections holding primary source materials on women artists, arts organizations, publications, and artist communities active in the United States since 1945, http://waand.rutgers.edu.

Olin is co-director of the newly formed Institute for Women and Art at Rutgers along with Professor Brodsky. Both also administer The Feminist Art Project (TFAP), a national initiative that celebrates and recognizes women's aesthetic and intellectual impact on the visual arts, in the past and present times http://feministartproject.rutgers.edu.

Brodsky, a nationally renown artist, professor and founding director of the Brodsky Center at Rutgers, will be given a recognition award by the CAA and WCA at the same event.

Ferris Olin has helped the Rutgers University Libraries acquire many notable archival collections in contemporary art, which include the records of the New York Feminist Art Institute, the Heresies Collective, and the WCA, as well as the personal papers of contemporary artists such as Ora Lerman, Faith Ringgold and Miriam Schapiro.

For decades, Dr. Olin has worked tirelessly at Rutgers and through regional and national organizations to promote the study of and preservation of the histories of women artists, as well as women leaders across a wide range of fields and disciplines. She has written many well-regarded and much cited articles, essays, book chapters, and exhibition catalogs on women artists and women's material culture, art collectors, and art history that have advanced scholarship in the fields of art history, women's and gender studies, New Jersey history, curriculum transformation, and library science.

"I am honored that my peers have selected me for this very special award; and delighted that I will join other women of achievement in the visual arts, among them, my Rutgers colleague, Judith K. Brodsky, this year whose work is being acknowledged. This recognition is especially meaningful to me because it also celebrates the many visual arts professionals and other scholars with whom I have collaborated over the past thirty-plus years."

The College Art Association supports all practitioners and interpreters of visual art and culture, including artists and scholars, who join together to cultivate the ongoing understanding of art as a fundamental form of human expression. Over 13,000 artists, art historians, scholars, curators, collectors, educators, art publishers, and other visual arts professionals are individual members. Another 2,000 university art and art history departments, museums, libraries, and professional and commercial organizations hold institutional memberships. The CAA's website is: http://www.collegeart.org

The Women's Caucus for Art, founded in 1972 in connection with the CAA, is a national member organization unique in its multi-disciplinary, multicultural membership of artists, art historians, students/educators, and museum professionals. The WCA's website is: http://www.nationalwca.com/index.html

Posted January 18, 2007