PARS Forum: 2017 Annual Conference

This year’s Preservation & Reformatting Section (PARS) Forum was held on Sunday, June 25, and featured reports on two innovative programs. The session was introduced by Chair Kris Kern, who briefly announced the two segments and their presenters.

The first speaker was Katie Risseeuw, Preservation Librarian at Northwestern University. Katie was in charge of the second annual “Preservation in Action” (PiA). This was modelled on the American Institute for Conservation’s “Angels” Program, which schedules one day before or after the annual meeting to assemble volunteers to plan and carry out a preservation program involving a local cultural community institution.

Katie provided an overview of the project’s goals, and introduced several coordinators and representatives of the selected cultural institution in Chicago (Rebuild Foundation's Stony Island Arts Bank). The day’s activities centered on rehousing ephemera, photos, newspapers and objects. Specific goals, participants, intended and unintended outcomes and reflections on this event can be found at the ALCTS News Report on Preservation in Action.

Tom Clareson, Director for the Performing Arts Readiness (PAR) project, gave the second presentation. He began by summarizing information offered earlier this year (including his presentation at the 2017 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta and the Library of Congress’ lecture and live-streamed event Open Arms: Expanding the Cultural Emergency Preparedness Community, from April, 2017’s Preservation Week). He used this as a foundation for the two-pronged subject of his Forum talk: an introduction to the project’s new website, http://performingartsreadiness.org/ (outlining the purpose, goals, events and grants available under the initiative), and an overview of the project’s newly-available grant programs.

Tom noted that the website’s debut eases and broadens the initiative’s ability to communicate with performing arts organizations and their supporters. He then focused on the Performance Arts Readiness Disaster Preparedness Networking Grants (DNW), established to enhance existing networks as well as to assist performing artists. As shown on the new website, three grant levels are currently available:

  • Grants of up to $7,250 will be awarded to up to 40 performing arts organizations to acquire expertise, training, and tools for emergency readiness, resulting in new or updated disaster plans.
  • Grants of up to $7,500 will be awarded to 12 existing emergency planning and response support networks to assist with expanding their networks to performing arts organizations.
  • Grants of up to $15,000 will be awarded to two emerging or new emergency readiness and response networks to provide models for other groups building broadly inclusive networks that incorporate performing arts organizations.

He continued by announcing workshops, webinars and other opportunities for collaboration among cultural heritage and performing arts groups.

Tom emphasized that there is a strict time frame for upcoming grant applications: Guidelines for grant development will be available August 15, 2017; Applications will be due October 15, 2017; Awards will be announced December 1, 2017 and projects will begin January 1, 2018. Tom also noted that Samantha Forsko of the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) will be presenting a webinar covering these guidelines on September 17, 2017.

The session concluded following questions and answers at about 5:30 p.m.

Reported by Ann C. Kearney