Imagine your loved one is an artist. All your life you saw him/her create with love and joy. Nothing made you happier than looking at all of his or her marvelous, unique creations.
Then one day life takes an unexpected turn: a fire, an illness, a passing, and you are left not only to cope, but with the important burden of salvaging and accounting for all of the artworks that made such an impact on you. Where do you begin? How many artworks were there? Where are they all now? You know you have to act, as you cannot let this loved one’s passionate work fade away, but you don’t even know where to begin.
Sadly, this tragic and overwhelming scenario is one all too common and one that needs to be dealt with to ensure that we don’t lose important parts of our cultural and artistic lineage. This is exactly why the Senior Artists Initiative was founded. Started in 1998, SAI is a nonprofit organization that assists artists in understanding the need for and processes involved in organizing their life’s work. The Michener Art Museum has proudly been participating with this program since its inception, thanks to Director of Programs, Zoriana Siokalo.
Each year, SAI selects and works closely with a number of senior artists to help them with this vital process, documenting this journey on video, through their Inventory And Oral History Project. This year, Michener had the honor of working with photographer Michael Becotte. You can learn more about this partnership in this video.
Over the years, SAI has grown in both achievement and stature as an educational nonprofit serving the needs of senior artists and preserving the Philadelphia Region’s artistic heritage.
-Sumreen Z Chaudhry, Michener Intern