No. 180
December 12, 1997
Immediate Release

Karen Gysin (Walker) (612) 375-7651
Muriel Morrisette (MIA) (612) 870-3173



The Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) and the Walker Art Center have embarked on an ambitious joint project that eventually will bring their considerable visual and educational resources to classrooms and homes in Minnesota and the world via the Internet. A $1 million grant from the State of Minnesota Department of Children, Families & Learning launched the project in September 1997. Called the Integrated Arts Information Access project (IAIA), the multiyear effort will integrate the collections and archives of the two institutions in digital form.

The scope of the IAIA project will require an ongoing commitment from both the Walker and the MIA. During the initial phase, July 1, 1997, to June 30, 1999, both museums will concentrate on converting their collections and related resources to digital form. In addition to images, audio, video, and software, materials such as catalogue records, curriculum, manuscripts, and print publications also will be converted. This work will pave the way for future development of online exhibitions, curriculum, and other activities aimed at local and remote K-12 students and families.

In addition to the IAIA project, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts ( and the Walker Art Center ( are among 23 United States and Canadian art museums that form the Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO). The Consortium was announced formally on October 15 by the Association of Art Museum Directors Educational Foundation, Inc. An association representing 170 directors of the largest art museums in North America, AAMD is led by President Hugh M. Davies, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and Executive Director, Millicent Hall Gaudieri. Further AAMD information is available at

AMICO is a non-profit organization that will provide educational access to a joint, multimedia digital library. The library will document works in the collections of the major North American art museums. Images, as well as the audio tours and multimedia programs now being created in museums, are a rich source of content for online instructional materials. Through AMICO the information can be distributed effectively to the educational community.

Commenting on the new educational opportunities that IAIA and AMICO will provide, Kathy Halbreich, Director, Walker Art Center, said: "The Walker Art Center is eager to make our unique resources on contemporary art and culture available in digital form to a wide array of audiences, including the K-12 teachers and students in Minnesota as well as universities across the nation."

"The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is proud to join with America's other great art museums to make images of our works of art more available to scholars, students, and the general public," said Evan M. Maurer, Director and CEO of The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. "It's part of a long-range plan to make our museum a more effective part of our growing educational system and a growing public resource," Maurer said.

During a six-month planning process AMICO members planned how they will collect and distribute a multimedia digital library that will document and interpret their collections. They also defined how the Consortium will be organized and governed. A key element was drafting University and Museum licenses that outline terms under which the AMICO Library will be offered to educational communities. AMICO's framework documents are available for public comment at

"AMICO represents the collective will of North America's leading art museums to reach into every classroom and library reading room around the world. Minnesota has led the U.S. in committing to a combined effort of its two primary art museums to benefit AMICO. By allowing the MIA and the Walker to collaborate in providing images, text, and other information about their collections, the Minnesota Legislature has set a stellar example," stated Maxwell L. Anderson, Director, Art Gallery of Ontario, and Director, Art Museum Network ( "Sponsors around the world should follow Minnesota's lead to foster cooperation in distance learning, which will be essential to make use of the ever-expanding connectivity that has until now been the primary focus of public interest funding. The MIA has long been a pioneer in developing the potential of interactive technology, and the Walker's website is among the most successful in the museum world--we are fortunate to include them in AMICO's first year," Anderson said.

Before announcing full availability of its digital library, AMICO is launching a yearlong test project to validate the proposed framework for collective licensing of museum digital collections, The test also will evaluate a system for delivering this content to the higher education community. A call for participation in the AMICO University Testbed can also be found at

AMICO Founding Members
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Asia Society Galleries, New York, NY
Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley, MA
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN
Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA
Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, Montréal, Quebec
Musee d'art contemporain de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

The Walker Art Center is located one block off Highway I-94 at the corner of Lyndale Avenue South and Vineland Place in Minneapolis. For public information, call (612) 375-7622; TDD: 375-7585. Gallery hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 10 am-5 pm; Thursday, 10 am-8 pm; Sunday, 11 am-5 pm; closed Monday; free Thursday and the first Saturday of each month. (Free First Saturdays are made possible by Burnet Realty.)

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is located one mile south of downtown Minneapolis at the corner of 24th Street and Third Avenue South. For information, call 612-870-3131 (TDD 870-3132); Internet-- Gallery hours are 10 am-5 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday; 10 am-9 pm Thursday; Noon-5 pm Sunday; Closed Monday. Museum admission is free; a fee is charged for some special exhibitions.