Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios Program Launches New Affiliate Category to Expand and Diversify Membership
The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced today the launch of a new Affiliate category of membership for acceptance into their prestigious Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios (HAHS) program. This new category will complement its longstanding Membership category which currently comprises 55 sites throughout 25 states in the nation; all preserved homes and studios of American artists and provide a site-specific depiction of art history. The addition of this new category represents a commitment by the National Trust, and the program, to create new pathways for organizations and individuals stewarding preserved artist properties, that may not meet the criteria under existing membership, to engage in meaningful dialogue with their professional peers. This is the first time in its more than twenty-year history that the program has created a new sphere for acceptance into its network of sites.
“We are excited to be expanding the program in this way,” states Valerie Balint, Senior Program Manager for HAHS. “At the center of this initiative is a desire to broaden and diversify representation in the program’s membership. This includes identifying and accepting more sites representing the legacies of women, artists of color, Indigenous artists, LGBTQ+ artists, as well as self-taught artists—in both membership categories. Those organizations that become part of the HAHS family through this new membership tier, will vitally contribute to the ongoing dialogue about the key role preserved artist spaces play in understanding our nation’s cultural heritage.”
“Through this initiative and ongoing work, both HAHS and the National Trust reflect the expanding definitions of preserved artist material culture and give attention to a wider range of artistic narratives and traditions,” adds Rena Zurofsky, Interim Vice President for Historic Sites at the National Trust. “We look forward to engaging with these new members and providing opportunities for education, mutual-mentoring, peer dialogue, and amplification of their properties and unique stories through our public outreach.”
Applications for consideration are now being accepted for this new category and will remain open through July 15, 2022. All applications will be peer reviewed by members of the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios staff and advisory committees, composed of leadership staff working at HAHS-member sites, and esteemed members of the art history and preservation community. Successful applicants will receive notification of acceptance in late August. In coming years, HAHS will continue an “open call” for Affiliate applicants each spring, with a parallel open application period for the traditional Membership category occurring during winter months, annually.
The Affiliate category was expressly created to serve those sites which may be in earlier stages of development as public institutions, and/or may not conform to traditional definitions of a preserved artist home and studio space. The category features more relaxed criteria thresholds and reduced annual membership dues to make participation feasible for those organizations with more limited financial resources. Where desired, HAHS leadership will provide guidance and resources, to assist an Affiliate member for later entry into Membership.
Creating a new category is also the result of recognizing that prejudice against, and social injustice and economic inequality experienced in BIPOC and other underrepresented communities has historically meant barriers to opportunities to preserve sites of artistic legacy in traditional ways—and that should not in itself prohibit entry into HAHS.
Affiliate Membership, therefore, actively seeks to broaden entrance into the program to include sites that may not follow traditional models of operation, interpretation, or visitation—and are outside the normal scope historically considered for membership in the HAHS program. In creating this new membership category, HAHS recognizes and embraces that there are different models for preserving cultural artistic legacy, and for activating sites, than those that have been historically included in its membership. This new membership category will enable HAHS to further amplify that a variety of spaces existed and do exist for creating art, beyond traditional home and studio paradigms, including outdoor studios, collective workspaces, and artist-designed vernacular environments. This new category will help HAHS achieve its goal of truly representing the rich diversity of our nation’s artistic legacy.
Eligible applicants in this new category could include individuals or organizations which preserve a space associated with an artist or artists which is not strictly a historic home or studio but may have served as a salon or convening/exhibition space for artists and their working process. Sites which are not currently open to the public but foster the legacy of an artist and the historic property through active public outreach online, may also be considered. Examples of other types of sites that may be considered are those: Not currently holding non-profit status, but demonstrating a commitment to public education; acting as a for-profit while still having a strong legacy, community engagement, and interpretative component; preserved artists’ properties that may not function primarily as historic house museums, but in other educational capacities, such as housing for contemporary artist residency programs; foundations or other entities preparing for the legacy of a living artist with intention to open a public site at a future date; and artist foundations, which own and preserve artist spaces, that are not currently open for public visitation.
More detailed information about this new category, application criteria and processes, as well as the benefits of the program, will be available through ArtistsHomes.org.
The launch of this new category parallels efforts program-wide to widen the circle of preserved sites included in its membership, giving equal agency to iconic and widely recognized artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Jackson Pollock, alongside self-taught artists such as Clementine Hunter and James Castle.
The Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios Program
Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios network is a peer-to-peer coalition of sites that brings these museums together to conserve the legacy of creativity in the visual arts in the United States. Since its establishment by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1999, HAHS has developed into a successful community of practice, working with 55-member sites that more than one million visitors in nearly every part of the United States. This network of sites leverages the knowledge and experience of individual members to benefit the entire coalition in critical areas, including historic preservation, visitor and community programming, and communications. artistshomes.org