Peoples with a computer link can now view some of the province's best art works
Radio interview by Christine Davis, CBC Radio
April 16, 1998. Copyright © 1998, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Reprinted with permission. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
can be reached on the web at
ANNE BUDGELL: Well if you have a computer and a link
to the Internet, you can now view local art works without leaving your
home. A website launched yesterday will carry a selection of images
from the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and
Labrador and this is one of the largest digital art collections in the
Province. It contains more than 400 images of work by people like
Christopher Pratt, Josephina Kalleo and Gerald Squires. The project
was funded by Industry Canada's SchoolNet Digital Collections Program
coordinated by the University's Smallwood Centre for Newfoundland
Studies and the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Website. Patricia
Gratton is the Director of the Art Gallery and she spoke with Christine
CHRISTINE DAVIS: Ms. Gratton, low is this different from
the website that the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador already
PATRICIA GRATTON: Our own home page is actually more an
information page about the gallery, about the upcoming events and
exhibitions and that kind of an Informational reference. It has a few
Images on it to sort of whet people's appetites but the images available
through the Newfoundland Heritage Website or on SchoolNet really are
where people can see a whole range of the Newfoundland and Labrador
works in the permanent collection, That's where you go for a whole
range of art works by a number of different artists.
CHRISTINE DAVIS: So what will people see if they click
on, click in? Click in?
PATRICIA GRATTON: They can see the work of about thirty
artists and also what we've done is worked from the theme shaped by
the sea and from an actual exhibition of the permanent collection that
has existed, We've taken that as sort a care direction for this program
and for the artists who are in that for instance, Chris Pratt, Don
Wright, Bill Ritchie. The (inaudible) you can see the works in that
show but also other works by them In the permanent collection, You
can also call up biographical material on the artist. So overall there
are over four hundred images that will be available to this site.
CHRISTINE DAVIS: Why did you want to get involved in
this at this time?
PATRICIA GRATTON: Well in a way I wish we might even
have done it sooner, As much as we believe that the best way to
experience a work of art is to be right there with the real work, and
it's a very different experience than seeing a digitalized Image on a
computer screen, the truth of the matter is many people can't get to
the art gallery and we can't get our touring shows, you know, to every
place in the Province or the country and so this is a wonderful way for
us to get those images out there and at least give people some sense
of the extraordinary richness of the, you know, the visual art in this
CHRISTINE DAVIS: But do you think they do lose
something though in the translation?
PATRICIA GRATTON: Well I'm a gallery person, so yes, I'm
absolutely convinced. Sure. You're looking at a, most people would
be looking at these on a computer screen and if, for instance, you
looked, say, at Gerry Squires painting, Uprooted, you've got it the
dimensions of the screen. The actual work is about five by seven feet,
so the emotional experience of seeing that or the ability to see the
texture and the work of the artist's hand and so on Is really an entirely
different experience. This can't replace it. What I hope it'll do is whet
people's interest in coming to the art gallery.
CHRISTINE DAVIS: One thing I was wondering about and
that's copyright. What is to prevent someone from downloading one of
these images from their own computer and perhaps using it in a way
that is not just for their personal appreciation?
PATRICIA GRATTON: It would be a bad thing, of course.
We've been very careful to get permission from all the artists involved,
I should say, up front. In fact if people try to download the images
they will find that the resolution of the image is so poor when it's
printed out as to be virtually useless. Now that's certainly with today's
technology. What technology produces In the future we're not certain
but I'm quite convinced that if technology gets that far so will the
possibility of encoding images to protect from that. So I think, and my
opinion is shared by experts in the copyright field, I think that artists
are still quite safe from that kind of unauthorized use.
CHRISTHER DAVIS: Now there are four hundred pictures of
pieces of art work now on the website. Is it sort of going to be a
PATRICIA GRATTON: The SchoolNet program is a sort of
fixed entity and that's a package that we hope has some coherence.
That will be available through SchoolNet to people and it is as it
stands. The Newfoundland Heritage Website on the other hand can be
added to down the road by us and certainly we hope to do that
because it's, you know, a small portion of the collection. Our hope
will be eventually to have the entire collection digitalized but I should
add that the collection is not entirely by artists of this Province. There
is other work as well. So (inaudible) connection the Newfoundland
and Labrador works were the most appropriate for launch.
CHRISTINE DAVIS: What difference do you think this site
now or this access will make for the gallery?
PATRICIA GRATTON: Well we'll be very interested and we
should, in fact, try and work out a way to test whether it, in fact,
directly produces increased visitation. I expect that it will. I think
people will begin to realize what's available here and that it should
have an impact on out visitation.
CHRISTINE DAVIS: Thank you very much.
PATRICIA GRATTON: You're very welcome.
ANNE BUDGELL: Patricia Gratton is the Director of the
Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Sidebar updated April, 2007.