The Emerald Foundation has donated $250,000 to the Archive of Visual Arts at The University of Arizona Museum of Art.
The gift is part of a $1.4 million fundraising drive for an endowment that will support a full-time archivist at the Archive of Visual Arts, or AVA.
The AVA, which serves as the museum’s research arm, collects artists’ papers and materials – including diaries, correspondence, financial documents and personal items – supporting the study of creativity and facilitating research in numerous disciplines.
“The wonderful thing is, not only does the UA have this marvelous collection, but it also will always be together as a complete collection and that’s what excited us,” said Phil Giltner, chairman of the Emerald Foundation, which was created with the estate of Frances Helen McClelland, a UA alumna who passed away in 2005.
The foundation gift qualifies the AVA to receive a matching challenge grant of up to $700,000 from UA alumni John Norton and Norman McClelland, Frances’ brother.
In 2007, artist Robert McCall donated more than 200 original paintings to the archive. The collection, which includes personal archives and notes, has an estimated value of $2.5 million to $3 million, according to McCall.
A portion of the collection is currently on display at the UAMA in an exhibition titled “Robert McCall: Imagination Unbound,” which opened March 6 in anticipation of the UA-led Phoenix Mars Mission.
For more than 60 years, McCall has chronicled the history of aviation, science and space flight. His 35-year relationship with NASA has given Americans a view of its presence in space in ways never before imagined.
McCall’s collection of works includes illustrations of America’s finest moments in space technology – from the inaugural manned space flight to the first steps taken on the moon.
In addition to being a visual historian for NASA, McCall has served as a conceptual artist for the entertainment industry. McCall was the art director on Disney’s science fiction adventure “The Black Hole” as well as “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” One of his most well-known commercial pieces is his painting for the poster art for the classic motion picture “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
McCall is a longtime supporter of the UA’s efforts in space exploration, serving on the University’s astronomy advisory board. McCall paintings have been on display at various UA locations for years, including the Large Binocular Telescope on Mt. Graham in southeastern Arizona and Steward Observatory on the UA campus.