American Folk Art Museum Acquires Healing Arts Initiative Archives

Irene Philips, Untitled, 1992. Mixed media on paper, 18 x 18 in. ⁠ ⁠

The American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) has announced that it will receive art archives from the Healing Arts Initiative (HAI). As part of an agreement with White Columns, which temporarily housed the archives from 2017, the Museum will preserve this collection, as well as make it accessible to artists, students, researchers and the general public.

“The American Folk Art Museum is honored to hold these exceptional archives. We hope that our goal of expanding access to these works of art will help further HAI’s mission to “inspire healing, growth, and learning through engagement in the arts,” especially for communities whose artistic expression has not always been nurtured or given a place,” said Regina Carra, Rapaport Archivist of the Museum.

For nearly five decades, HAI has created a platform and community for some of New York City’s most culturally underserved residents, especially the elderly, low-income people and people with disabilities. of mental illness. Through its workshops and studio programs, HAI has supported and encouraged the talents of hundreds of artists, some of whom are now widely recognized.

“We are deeply grateful to former HAI staff and for the visionary actions taken by White Columns in protecting this significant collection,” said AFAM Senior Curator Valérie Rousseau.

“When HAI closed, White Columns was instrumental in preserving the organization’s more than four-decade-long art archive, an unprecedented and historically significant collection of several thousand individual works. We are thrilled that this collection will now enter the American Folk Art Museum, where it will be cared for, studied, and made accessible to generations to come,” said Matthew Higgs, Director and Chief Curator of White Columns.

“I am thrilled that HAI’s archives have finally found a home in the American Folk Art Museum, where the extraordinary work of these important artists will be available to view. The lives and struggles of the artists will not be forgotten, and they can take the their rightful place in the history of Art Brut,” said Quimetta Perle, HAI Art Studio and Gallery Director.

Early participants in HAI’s program included artists Lady Shalimar Montague, Ray Hamilton, Irene Phillips and Rocco Fama. All four started making art in HAI’s workshops. Throughout its five decades, HAI’s programming has expanded to include a studio and gallery, providing artists with even greater access to space, materials, exhibition opportunities and camaraderie. Additionally, HAI has supported the talents of hundreds of living artists, including Melvin Way, Julius Caesar Bustamante and Derrick Alexis Coard. Initially, the archives will be available for viewing by appointment on a specified date later this year.

Jason T. Busch, Director and CEO of AFAM, commented, “With our gratitude to White Columns, Quimetta Perle and the New York State Attorney General’s Office, we are grateful for the opportunity to take care of these archives.”

About the Healing Arts Initiative

Healing Arts Initiative (HAI) was founded in 1970, originally as Hospital Audiences Inc.; its mission was to inspire healing, growth, and learning through engagement in the arts for culturally underserved people in New York whose access to the arts had been limited by health, age, or revenue. HAI’s art workshops originally started as programs for people living in private adult homes.

About the Museum of American Folk Art

The American Folk Art Museum engages people of all backgrounds through its collections, exhibitions, publications, and programs as the primary forum shaping the understanding and appreciation of folk and self-taught art across time and space. The Museum celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2022.

Mildred D. Field