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2004-12-08 16:12:45

National Art Gallery Gets $6,000 Grant From IDB

Upon receiving the grant, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas retained the services of Wayne Modest, Director of Museums in Jamaica, to advise the gallery in its collection management systems.

A grant in the amount of $6,000 has been issued to the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas to complete the first stage of its comprehensive collections management system. The grant was issued on Monday by the Cultural Center of the Inter-American Development Bank.

The National Art Gallery occupies the historic Villa Doyle, which is located at the intersection of West and West Hill Streets. It opened its doors to the public in July, 2003, with a full slate of exhibitions, educational and public programmes.

The Gallery exhibits various forms of Bahamian art from the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries and is the keeper of the National Collection of Bahamian art.

A statement issued from the Gallery outlined that the first stage of the collection management system for the National Art Gallery involves the retention of a qualified collection management consultant. The consultant is expected to formulate a comprehensive set of policy guidelines for the proper care and utilization of the collections in the care of the gallery.

The consultant will also train staff in the practical and philosophical issues associated with collection care, assess the climatic conditions of the gallery to determine how best to maintain a stable environment to store and display objects, implement necessary changes and develop a data input and retrieval system to collect information and details on objects in the gallery's care and monitor them for security, historical and conservation purposes.

The Cultural Center of the IDB is presently offering one-time grants ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 to finance small-scale cultural development projects. The grants are awarded on the basis of fulfilling a local need, contributing toward cultural values, stimulating economic and social activity in new and successful ways, supporting artistic excellence and contributing toward youth and community development. The awards programme is designed to encourage the development of innovative projects, preserve and recover traditions and conserve cultural heritage among other goals.

The IDB may finance up to two thirds of a single project. Local organizations are responsible for providing the remainder of the resources and supporting the project on a sustainable basis. This year, 46 projects were awarded financing.

Modest appointment

Upon receiving the grant, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas retained the services of Wayne Modest, Director of Museums in Jamaica, to advise the gallery in its collection management systems. Mr Modest is the Director of Museums in Jamaica and is currently completing a research fellowship for his doctoral degree (UWI-Mona) at New York University.

He received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of the West Indies, Mona and a Masters Degree in Museology from the Reinwardt Academy Amsterdam School of the Arts in the Netherlands. His Masters thesis questioned the historical significance of set standards for preservation within museums and their applicability within the tropical island climate of the Caribbean.

Mr Modest has conducted ongoing work as a museum professional and he is a board member for regional and international organizations, such as the Museum Association of the Caribbean and the International Council of Museums.

The gallery is of the opinion that Mr Modest will bring the necessary tools to effectively assist the gallery in reaching another important stage in its institutional development.

The National Art Gallery is open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays between 11am and 4pm.

Tamara McKenzie, The Nassau Guardian

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