Rescue Public Murals (Heritage Preservation)

Artstor has collaborated with Heritage Preservation to share more than 500 images of community murals in the United States through the Digital Library. These images were collected as part of the Rescue Public Murals project, an initiative of Heritage Preservation to document and conserve murals, as well as increase public awareness about the need to preserve them. The collection will include representative examples of damage to murals, illustrating the deterioration and decay that are endangering their survival. Often located outdoors, public murals are vulnerable to the deleterious effects of weather and time, as well as destruction through urban development projects. For decades, murals have been part of the cultural landscape of inner-city communities, whether in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, or other cities across the United States. As such, they not only hold intrinsic value as the unique artistic expressions of muralists, but they also bear the shared history of their neighborhoods by representing the contemporary social and political concerns of the surrounding community.

This collection will complement the Community Murals (Timothy Drescher) archive already available in Artstor. Timothy Drescher, co-chair of Rescue Public Murals, will also coordinate the contribution of an additional 1,200 images collected by muralists and scholars. Through their joint efforts, Rescue Public Murals and Dr. Drescher will endeavor to share a total of 1,500 images of community murals in the Digital Library.

Rescue Public Murals is based at Heritage Preservation, a national non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of the United States by identifying risks, developing innovative programs, and providing broad public access to expert advice. Launched in December 2006, Rescue Public Murals seeks to document public murals, assess their current condition, and raise the necessary support and funds to preserve them. It is assisted in this effort by a national committee of muralists, conservators, art historians, and public art professionals, and funding from the Getty Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Booth Heritage Foundation, and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art.