Major cyber-gallery unveiled
By Mark Vaughan-Jackson. The Telegram


April 16, 1998. Copyright © 1998, The Telegram. Reprinted with permission. The Telegram can be reached on the web at www.thetelegram.com

At the touch of a button Lt.-Gov. Max House has launched one of the largest collections of Newfoundland art into cyberspace.

Lt.-Gov. Max House launches the SchoolNet Digital Collections sponsored Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador Project.
Reproduced by permission of The Gazette. Photo ©1998
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House was guest of honor at the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador (AGNL) Wednesday to unveil a new Web site which contains more than 400 images drawn from the permanent collection held by the gallery.

Featuring works by such artists as Christopher Pratt, Gerry Squires, Don Wright and others, the works are either by artists who live here, or have work connected to the province in some way.

The new Web site collection was funded by Industry Canada's Schoolnet Digital Collections project and coordinated by Memorial University of Newfoundland's Smallwood Centre for Newfoundland Studies and the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site.

It's also been something of a pet project for MUN dean of arts Terry Murphy.

Murphy said the numerous benefits the online gallery will bring make the roughly $20,000 price tag a good investment.

"From our point of view the first reason is that we're constructing an even larger heritage Web site, trying to use the Internet to provide a valuable educational resource and also as a means of promoting knowledge and interest in Newfoundland and Labrador around the world via this means of communication" he said.

That heritage site was launched last year as a joint project by the CRB Foundation, the group responsible for those Heritage Minute segments on television, and MUN's Smallwood Centre for Newfoundland Studies.

Murphy said adding images from the AGNL's permanent collection to the heritage site was a logical step since the gallery's holdings are "arguably the most important collection of visual arts material in the province..."

The new Web site also fits well with AGNL's ongoing education programs, he said.

"They've done everything they can to promote public education about the visual arts, including bringing several groups of school children into the gallery," he said. "By putting the images on the site it makes them accessible to students all over the province and in fact the country and the world."

Murphy added that given these 400 images represent perhaps one-tenth of the entire permanent collection - using the Web site increases the amount of the collection available for public view at any one time regardless of how many paintings the gallery can actually hang on its walls.

There are other more tangible benefits too, Murphy said, pointing to the extensive information technology training and experience gained by the team who constructed the new site.

The online gallery will be accessible through two sites on the Internet: the SchoolNet site and the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage site at www.heritage.nf.ca.

In addition to the images, the site will feature biographies on some 30 artists as well as interpretative writings on the gallery, the collection and works.

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