How do museums acquire their collections? What makes an artwork, or an artist, worthy of collecting? These are questions museums face every day and the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) Art Museum is no exception.
“The Art of Acquisition: New New Mexican Works at the NHCC” features art works that have been collected and added to the museum’s permanent collection over the last five years. All of the pieces featured in this exhibition are by New Mexican artists or artists living in New Mexico, and their work is displayed in the NHCC Community Gallery which is designed to showcase the artistic contributions of the local community. These acquisitions, like the majority of the NHCC Art Museum permanent collection, were given by artists and collectors and the museum would not be what it is today without the support of our generous donors.
Accepting a donation is serious business and the NHCC Art museum has a rigorous process of approval before an object can become a part of the museum’s permanent collection. An object is first reviewed by the museum director and curatorial staff. It is then presented to the NHCC Art Museum’s Collections Committee which is composed of art experts, collectors, and artists from throughout New Mexico. When an object is approved by the committee, the Director of the NHCC Art Museum and Visual Arts Program presents the piece at the NHCC Board of Directors Meeting for Board approval. Only upon the Board’s approval does the object become a part of the NHCC Art Museum’s permanent collection. This process ensures that the NHCC Art Museum is the proper home for every object we acquire and it all begins with our donors and their affection for this museum.
In the last five years, the NHCC’s Art Museum collection has grown– in fact doubled its size– through donations from communities and collectors. Very few objects are purchased because our acquisitions purchase fund has yet to be fully developed. An acquisitions fund for the permanent collection would enable the NHCC Art Museum curators to target significant works by important artists for the collection. We would be able to pay artists directly, so that they would receive the full value for their visual creations. Doing this would allow museum staff to continue to foster a supportive community interaction as well as follow best practices for museum curatorship and collection stewardship.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.