Featured Member: Kathy Heuer

Meet Kathy Heuer, former librarian at the College of Visual Arts

How long have you been a member of ARLIS?

I have been a member of ARLIS since 1992. At that time I started working as a Reference Librarian at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. I was at MCAD for over seven years.

What was your most current position and how long had you been there?

For over thirteen years I was the Library Director at the College of Visual Arts in Saint Paul. Unfortunately the college was forced to close at the end of this spring semester.

What interests you about your job?  What aspects of being an art librarian do you love?

I have always been a person who loves information. When I was about ten years old my parents bought a set of World Book Encyclopedia. I just loved reading each volume and absorbing more and more facts. When we got the set, I also got a little pin that read “We never guess. We look it up.” I still have that pin and it has been my mantra for library work. There is nothing more fun and rewarding than finding information for people or doing a research project. I really enjoy a job that is never boring and one where you are always learning something new. Most of the time I’d go to work having some idea of what I’d be doing that day. But when users came into my library and needed help, I would be off on a wonderful hunt for information. What better way to spend your work day. Of course working in an art library has the added bonus of spending your time working with art-related topics. It was especially rewarding to work with students and artists. I often would help them get information that they would use for researching a new art project. When I would see the finished work of art I was always in awe of their talent and dedication.

What are you currently reading?

I just finished Salman Rusdie’s  Midnight’s Children. I have a fondness for fiction set in India and also love Indian films.

Featured Library: Forecast Public Art

Meet the Forecast Public Art Library

What are some highlights of the library collection?

It’s tough to choose collection highlights, since the field of public art is so diverse, and our collection is so varied. The library provides a truly unique cross-section of the field of public art. Here are a few items I’ve particularly enjoyed: video documentation of a pyrotechnic display on Minneapolis’ Greenway bike corridor; The Urban Cook Book, a catalogue of contemporary guerilla artists alongside their favorite street food recipes; The Artist’s Guide to Public Art; a stellar manual chock-full of practical tips from RFQs to fabrication; and Waiting For Godot In New Orleans, a catalogue of Creative Time’s site-specific performance in post-Katrina New Orleans.

What do most patrons come to see in the library?

Most visitors to the library are artists looking for inspiration. We’ve also had faculty from arts colleges research our materials for their coursework. Many other arts-related events have taken place in our library and drawn upon its materials including a round-table discussion with artist Candy Chang and even a chapter meeting for ARLIS-TC!

The library is unique because…

Our library contains a very unique collective of public art maps and guides you’re not likely to find anywhere else! Whether you’re planning a trip and would like to browse a map of a Albuquerque’s public art collection (for example), or you’re interested in seeing a catalogue of Creative Time’s projects from 1991, you’re not likely to find these items anywhere else.

What is the purpose of the FPA library? Why was it considered a priority to make that kind of resource available to artists and facilitators?

Forecast’s mission of strengthening and advancing the file of public art includes an educational role. As publisher of Public Art Review magazine, we’re at the nexus of contemporary public art dialogue. However, when you ask most folks what they think of as “public art” you’re likely to hear one of the three M’s — murals, monuments, or memorials. We’re dedicated to providing resources that expand the definition of public art, and we do so by providing an array of resources to the general public.