The University of Michigan, the American Council for Southern Asian Art (ACSAA), and Artstor announced today that they had reached an agreement whereby the University of Michigan and Artstor will collaborate on the distribution through Artstor of approximately 13,000 high quality digital images from the University of Michigan slide distribution service’s “ACSAA Color Slide Project.” Spanning nearly 3,000 years of Southern Asian culture, the ACSAA Color Slide Project has been the primary source of teaching images in the field of Southern Asian art and architecture for thirty years.

The ACSAA Color Slide Project is a non-profit supplier of photographic materials of Southern Asian art. Since 1974, the Project has provided high quality yet modestly priced color slides of the art and architecture of India and other South and Southeast Asian countries (Nepal, Tibet, Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan) to individuals and institutions for teaching and research purposes around the world.

This collaboration will make this rich body of visual material and related scholarship available online and at high resolution for the first time. The audience for these materials will include not only art historians but also scholars, teachers, and students throughout the humanities and social sciences, who will value having the ability to access, browse, and make rich educational and scholarly uses of this unique corpus of images. Through this agreement, the University of Michigan expects to make sets of the digital images available to individual scholars, here and abroad, as it has always done with its slide sets.

In reaching this agreement, Alex Potts, Professor and Chair of the History of Art Department at the University of Michigan, and Mary Beth Heston, President of ACSAA and Chair of the Art History Department at the College of Charleston, expressed their enthusiasm in collaborating with Artstor and in using digital technologies to make this important scholarly resource more broadly available for noncommercial pedagogical and scholarly purposes. “The History of Art Department at Michigan is very glad to be working with Artstor in making a significant portion of the exceptionally rich visual archive of Asian material it administers more widely available to students and researchers in the field. Collaborating with the American Council for Southern Asian Art to bring the holdings of the ACSAA Color Slide Project to a wider audience is important for the educational mission of both our institutions,” said Professor Potts, expressing the University of Michigan’s enthusiasm for this collaboration. “ACSAA believes Artstor shares the original educational and scholarly objectives of ACSAA in assembling and distributing these images. Artstor will further our mission to provide an important resource for scholars, teachers and students by bringing this resource into the digital age,” Professor Heston adds on behalf of ACSAA. Max Marmor, Artstor’s Director of Collection Development, expressed Artstor’s keen interest in this partnership. “The ACSAA slides have been one of the key sources of teaching images in Asian art and architecture for decades. Making these very important images available to teachers and scholars in digital form through Artstor will significantly ease the transition to digital for hosts of teachers and students, while also adding a new dimension to the immensely important slide distribution projects at the University of Michigan and strengthening ACSAA’s key role in support of the study of Southern Asian Art.”

The ACSAA Color Slide Project is a not-for-profit service established by the American Council for Southern Asian Art (ACSAA) at the University of Michigan in the mid-1970s. Since then the ACSAA Color Slide Project has functioned as a service to the educational community. The Project, which has benefited from the contributions of many individual photographers, concentrates on photographing and distributing, at an affordable price, slides of art objects from exhibitions, distinguished private collections, and the permanent collections of major American and South Asian museums. The project also photographs and distributes slides of major architectural sites that include sculptural monuments. For more information on the Project, see its website at http://www.umich.edu/~hartspc/acsaa/acsaa.html.

The American Council for Southern Asian Art (ACSAA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the study and awareness of the art of South and Southeast Asia. In addition to periodic symposia, ACSAA pursues these goals through various projects, including its bi-annual newsletter, bibliographies, and of course the ACSAA Color Slide Project. Since its incorporation in 1967, ACSAA has grown from its original fifteen members to an organization of some three hundred individuals and institutions.