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The Waskowmium fills an unfortunate gap which currently exists. There are no public art institutions that are devoted exclusively to Contemporary Visual Art that are also collecting institutions in Northern New England. Even though there are sometimes world-class exhibitions of contemporary visual art here in Vermont, if one wanted to experience this on a continual basis, there would be the need to travel outside of this region to see and experience what is going on in today’s art world. Despite this fact, Vermont has the fourth highest concentration per capita of visual artists in the United States, as well as much artwork that is aesthetically significant and also would be critically significant if there was a substantial critical art community to receive it. The creation of such a public institution would be instrumental on many fronts: First, there would be additional attention paid to the visual arts and their creators in this State. Second, there would be yet another reason for people, both tourists and scholars, to visit Vermont. This could be a boon to our economy directly and indirectly. Finally, the educational component of this would be significant, as well as providing more accessibility to world class art locally and regionally.

The Waskowmium consists of somewhat more than 12,000 contemporary art objects. It is believed to be the largest collection of its kind in Northern New England. The private collection of Mark S. Waskow forms its nucleus and it is Mark’s desire to transfer this collection to a nonprofit institution for the benefit of the people in Northern New England. To this end, a nonprofit organization and museum are being created here in Vermont. The transformation from a private collection to a public institution is a large, expensive and all-consuming project. As a result of this, private donations are being sought to help underwrite these costs.

There is a three stage plan for development which encompasses 8 -12 years of resource growth:

  1. The first stage involves the complete documentation of the collection, both textually and photographically. In addition, there is a need to hire a collection registrar, as well as incorporating a feasibility study to assess the long term viability of an expanded version of the collection’s current accommodations, which would be a world-class museum based in Vermont.
  2. The second stage of this plan involves the purchase of a suitable building. In order to properly display and house the collection, this must be located and secured. The building will have to have considerable work done to make it suitable for housing the collection; there will need to be public accommodations, temperature and humidity controls and many other details to fit it up suitably as a museum. Finally, the collection must be completely inventoried before being moved into its new home. It must be packed, transported and properly installed. The importance of housing the collection and library in one suitable location in such a way, that it can be visited by artists, museum personnel, curators, gallerists, critics and the general public cannot be overstated. The collection needs to be placed into a building that is safe, environmentally sound, and free from the pressures of either risk from an uncertain future and unsafe neighbors, as well as the risk of having to be moved at a point not determined by the institution itself. The mechanical risks presented in moving art to a new geographical locale, present some of the most pressing risks facing the collection, which is why the selection of professional art movers is necessary to maximize the safety of the art objects.
  3. The final stage of this plan involves the administration of this institution: hiring the appropriate personnel, setting up standards of practice, creating public activities around the collections, and the care and feeding of this as an ongoing contributing institution which is part of the ‘Cultural Continuum.’

In light of all of the above mentioned issues, I am asking for your help and assistance. I am looking for donors who will [help] to underwrite this project. This collection is a substantial resource to the region and its maintenance and growth will be extremely important in the development of Vermont as an artistic hub for the region. Upon the successful completion of the feasibility study, the collection will be gifted to this new nonprofit organization.

I am asking you today to consider making a gift. Thank you for your consideration. In the meantime, help spread the word on Twitter and on Facebook where you can share about the artists and the artwork you love!