A Welcome from your Presidents

Let’s gather in Minneapolis for the 2nd joint conference of the Visual Resources Association and the Art Libraries Society of North America, March 24th to March 28th. This convergence of two like-minded professional organizations demonstrates the program theme "Collaboration: Building Bridges in the 21st Century."

Our venue will be the Hilton Minneapolis hotel, conveniently located in the heart of downtown. The hotel is near the light rail, which is connected to the skyway system, so attendees will be able to easily reach restaurants, shops and other services without stepping outdoors.

We hope you will join us on Thursday evening, March 24 for the "Founders' Fete Fundraiser" at the historic Gale Mansion, http://www.galemansion.com. This event will be an opportunity to honor both VRA & ARLIS/NA founders as well as to experience this Italian Renaissance architectural gem. The funds raised from this event will support both of our organizations. The nearby Minneapolis Institute of Arts, http://www.artsmia.org, will also be open this evening for us to view their collections and the special exhibit "Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting.”

The VRA & ARLIS/NA opening convocation will be at the conference hotel on Friday evening, March 25, followed by the "Icebreaker" welcome party. This event will be held at the Walker Art Center, http://www.walkerart.org/, an internationally acclaimed collection of modern and contemporary visual, performing, and media arts, where we will be welcomed by their Director, Olga Viso. The Walker Art Center galleries and book shop will be open until 10 p.m. Come to enjoy food and drink as well as network with your colleagues and view contemporary art.

The exhibits will take place at the conference hotel on Friday and Saturday, March 25 and 26 with ample space to display products and plenty of room for our members to mingle and ask questions. The schedule also allows some “no conflict” time to take advantage of having all of us in one place. On Saturday evening, March 26, the Exhibit Hall and the Silent Auction will have a closing reception. The theme of the Silent Auction is “Shhh…Silent Auction.” We will be in full swing in the form of this fund raising event and it provides an opportunity to bid on numerous creative items donated by and benefiting members from both organizations.

Blending the best traditions of both organizations, a jam-packed program offers new and exciting conference experiences. Highlights include significant topics in a variety of formats:

A number of exciting tours will delve deeply into this culturally rich region. From Art Deco to ice skating, free tours help you get your bearings in the skyway and explore notable architectural monuments and public art. More in-depth architectural tours of both Twin Cities, including the Prairie School style of the Purcell-Cutts House and the Contemporary Guthrie Theater, will be available as well as affordable day trips to Owatonna and St. John’s Abbey. Or, experience artists’ collaboratives focused on book arts and printmaking with the “Up Close and Hands On” tours at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

Enjoy Minnesota culture, enhance your professional toolkit, and take time to catch up with old friends or make new connections. On behalf of both organizations’ Executive Boards and the local conference planners, we cordially welcome all of the members of VRA and ARLIS/NA, as well as other interested colleagues, to share what will surely be a memorable conference experience and to meet us in Minneapolis!

Maureen Burns, VRA President

Marilyn Russell, ARLIS/NA President