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Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Launches New Online Art Resource

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts has launched a new eMuseum, giving online visitors access to its collection of more than 4,200 works of art! Computer users worldwide can now search the database under the “Collection” tab at to find pertinent information about their art and view images of most works.

The KIA is among some 600 institutions worldwide using the eMuseum software by Gallery Systems to make its art collection searchable from any computer with Internet access. Online users can browse the KIA’s art collection or find the answer to a particular question. Does the KIA have any works by Picasso? (Yes, nine prints and two sculptures.) How many works are by African American artists? (The collection contains 173 works by African American artists spanning 140 years, from 1871 to 2011.)

In the early stages of the project, the KIA partnered with Western Michigan University Libraries’ Digitization Center to calibrate equipment and set standards for cataloguing objects. The process of making digital photographs of the collection objects, updating the database, and developing the eMuseum was made possible by two federal grants from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Through grant making, policy development and research, IMLS helps communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning.

The KIA’s art collection, originally developed in the 1960s to complement the KIA’s art classes, focuses on American painting, sculpture and ceramics; American and European works on paper (16th century and later); and photography. It includes significant works by artists such as Alexander Calder, Dale Chihuly, Richard Diebenkorn, Deborah Butterfield, and Andy Warhol. In recent years, the KIA’s collection has been expanded to include Oceanic objects, Pre-Columbian gold and ceramics, African art, and East Asian art.