|Oral History Archives at Columbia|
At a Glance
Interviews are arranged in one series, alphabetically by last name of narrator.
Scope and Content
The Research Center for Arts and Culture oral history collection documents the experiences of artists, craftspeople, painters, actors, and related professionals, particularly as they relate to the arts as a career.
The interview questions were designed around what the project members termed a "multistage validation sequence" that would trace the artists' experience from early childhood through mature careers. As a part of this model, the areas that the interviews address are education, training, preparation to career entry, peers and colleagues, marketplace judgments, critical evaluation and public response, and career satisfaction and maturity. The study strove to include diverse participants in terms of gender, ethnicity, age, and stage of career.
Other themes frequently discussed include the use of other jobs to supplement a career in the arts, aging, Actors' Equity, materials used in crafts, and the very meaning of having a career in the arts. Related professionals interviewed in the course of the project include museum curators, art historians, critics, dealers, managers, directors, producers, and union representatives.
Sixty-eight of the collection's 138 interviews have been transcribed.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
All interviews in this collection are open.
All transcripts are located on-site. Box 7 (containing all audiocassettes) is located off-site.
Restrictions on Use
For the majority of the interviews, copyright by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, 1990-1993. Narrators who maintained copyright are noted at the interview level.
American Craftspeople Oral History Collection, Columbia Center for Oral History Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University.
Research Center for Arts and Culture, Gift, 1991-1993.
The interviews of this collection were donated to the Oral History Research Office by the Research Center for Arts and Culture in three segments between 1991 and 1993.
The first donation (1991) consisted of interviews with 34 craft artists and 14 related experts. The second donation (1992) was comprised of 35 interviews with painters and 15 related experts. The third donation (1993) contained 39 interviews related to acting.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Collection processed 07/2015 DAO
2015-12-15 xml document instance created by David A. Olson.
2019-06-08 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
The interviews of the Research Center for Arts and Culture oral history collection were conducted by the Research Center for Arts and Culture at Columbia University from 1990 to 1993. The Artist Training and Career Project, of which the interviews were a part, sought to systematically analyze the career paths, training, and job satisfaction of people working in the arts. In addition to the interviews, the project's inquiry included a detailed survey was sent to 6,133 actors, 4,000 craftspeople, and 2,000 painters. Portions of interviews were published in three books, edited by Joan Jeffri, the Director of the Research Center for Arts and Culture:The Craftsperson Speaks,The Painter Speaks, andThe Actor Speaks. The project was supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Actors' Equity Association.