Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to Develop Digital Arts Archive

The New York City-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has announced a new initiative to develop, store, and electronically distribute digital images and related scholarly materials for scholarly research through the formation of an independent nonprofit organization to be known as ArtSTOR.

The organization's mission will be to provide access to high-quality digital images and other relevant materials for teachers, students, and scholars at educational and cultural institutions. The projected breadth of the collection is likely to make it useful not only for students and teachers of art but also for those studying history, anthropology, literature, the classics, American studies, and other disciplines.

Outgoing Harvard University president and former Mellon Foundation executive vice president Neil L. Rudenstine, a scholar of Renaissance literature, will lead an advisory group to guide ArtSTOR's development and will chair its board when it is formally established as an independent 501(c)(3) public charity. In the interim, the project will be developed under the aegis of the foundation, with the foundation's James Schulman serving as acting executive director.

"Having worked closely with Neil Rudenstine over more than 20 years at Princeton and at the Mellon Foundation, I know what an extraordinarily insightful and effective leader he is," said Mellon Foundation president William G. Bowen. "I believe that his knowledge of the humanities and of art history, his exceptional organizational skills, and his familiarity with leading scholars in the field qualify him superbly to guide the development of this new scholarly resource that has such potential to enhance and even alter the study of art. He and James Shulman will make a highly effective team, and I look forward with keen anticipation to working with them."

The venture, which is conceived as a counterpart to JSTOR, the foundation's initiative to create a digital archive of leading scholarly journals and make them readily accessible by means of the World Wide Web, also aims to reduce costs for participating institutions by eliminating the need for each entity or institution to create its own core archive.

For more information, visit the Mellon Foundation Web site at:

"Rudenstine to Chair New Digital Arts Venture" Harvard University Press Release 04/05/2001.