Phoenix Art Museum and the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona have announced a highly innovative and unprecedented collaboration. It establishes a vibrant new photography exhibition program at Phoenix Art Museum, while bringing the Center’s world-renowned collections to new and larger audiences.
Through a $1 million endowment established at Phoenix Art Museum by John R. Norton, a University of Arizona alumnus and photography enthusiast, the Museum will fund a curatorial position at the Center in Tucson. The curator will have joint responsibilities to both institutions, including organizing exhibitions and teaching. With access to the Center’s collections and archives of many of the most important photographers to work in the medium, Phoenix Art Museum and the Center for Creative Photography will present at least three photography exhibitions per year in the Museum’s new 2,500-square-foot Doris and John Norton Gallery on the second level of the new gallery wing constructed as part of the Museum’s $41.2 million expansion. The Norton Gallery has been specially designed for the display of photographic works.
“The Center for Creative Photography is among the most highly-respected photographic collections and programs in the country. We are thrilled to enter into this landmark collaboration with an institution of the Center’s caliber,” said Jim Ballinger, Phoenix Art Museum’s director. “It has been one of the Museum’s goals to establish a quality photography program, and this joint venture assures that visitors to the Museum will experience the best examples throughout the history of photography.”
“When Jim Ballinger described the proposed arrangement between Phoenix Art Museum and the Center for Creative Photography, I became very excited about it,” said John Norton. “Not only am I an alumnus of the University of Arizona and a strong supporter of Phoenix Art Museum, but I have enjoyed photography as a hobby for many years. It is a great pleasure for Doris and me to be able to help two such fine institutions and insure the success of this project.”
“We are pleased that one of the University of Arizona’s great supporters, John Norton, has made it possible for the Center for Creative Photography to exhibit its treasures within our state’s premier art museum,” said Douglas Nickel, the CCP director. “In keeping with the Center’s educational mission, this enlightened partnership will allow our presentations to reach new audiences in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area and beyond.”
At the time of Phoenix Art Museum’s grand opening of its expansion – November 11 & 12 – the partnership and the gallery will be inaugurated with the opening of Modern by Nature: Ansel Adams in the 1930s, organized by the director of the Center for Creative Photography, Douglas R. Nickel. This exhibition particularly is significant because Adams co-founded the Center in 1975. It has become one of the most important repositories of major photographers’ archives – retaining the life work of such artists as Adams, Edward Weston, Harry Callahan and Garry Winogrand, as well as the largest institutional collection of works spanning the career of Richard Avedon. The Center retains the world’s largest collection of exhibition photographs by 20th century masters – some 80,000 works – and archival materials that number nearly 3.8 million objects.