The Getty Research Institute

How it has managed to shape, affect, and influence the identity of Los Angeles.IntroductionThe Getty Research Institute (GRI) is an international cultural and charitable institution whose focal point and interest is in visual arts in all their dimensions. Located at the Getty Center in Los Angeles (L.A), California, it is "dedicated to furthering knowledge and advancing understanding of the visual arts" (About the Research Institute, ¶1). It is a program of the J. Paul Getty Trust. GRI has several functions such as maintenance of a research library, organization of exhibitions and other events, sponsoring of a residential scholars program, publishing of books and production of electronic databases. The institution has assisted in identifying the capacity of visual arts as well to inspire and strengthen humanistic values. The Getty provides services to the general public of Los Angeles as well as a wide range of professional communities around world. This paper explains how the GRI has managed to shape, affect, and influence the identity of Los Angeles.According to a memo by Wood in the Los Angeles Times, The J. Paul foundation operates two major campuses – The Getty villa and The Getty center – and a collection of four main programs: the Getty Museum, Research Institute, Conservation Institute and the Foundation (Wood ¶2). We will mainly focus on the Getty Research Institute (GRI) whose main aim is to “further knowledge and nurture critical seeing through the growth and presentation of its collections and by advancing the understanding and preservation of the world’s artistic heritage” (J. Paul Getty Trust 2007 Report, 3). The Getty pursues this mission with the certainty that cultural awareness, originality and visual enjoyment are indispensable and very important to the civil society (3). It will be imperative to briefly discuss the other three programs under the J. Paul Getty Trust as together with the GRI have come along way to shape the face of Los Angeles.The Getty MuseumThe first program of the J. Paul Getty Trust is the Getty museum. The museum seeks additional consciousness of the visual arts and helps in cultivating critical seeing by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting works of art of the highest quality. In pursuit of its mission the museum has continued to expand its collection through acquisitions and gifts while complementing its impact through special exhibitions, publications, and educational programs developed for a wide range of audiences, and a related performing arts program. As reported in the J. Paul Getty Trust Report, the Museum has continued to extend its task through the internet and by regular exchange of works of art, staff, and expertise. Also the museum has played a crucial part in promoting visual arts by providing its visitors with access to the most innovative research in the visual arts (11).The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI)

The Getty Conservation Institute has international links that assists in advancing conservation practice in the visual arts. Various benefits attributed to the GCI include “scientific research, education and training, model field projects, and the dissemination of the results of both its own work and the work of others in the field”. ( J. Paul Getty Trust 2007 Report, 38). In all its activities, the GCI main focus has been the conception and delivery of knowledge that will profit the professionals and organizations accountable for the conservation of the world’s cultural heritage. The visual arts assist to enrich the human experience by offering substantial proof of the achievements of those who had preceded us. This is by communicating significant messages of historic value with relevance to the contemporary world (38).The Getty foundation“The Getty foundation fulfills the philanthropic mission of the J. Paul Getty Trust by Supporting individuals and institutions committed to advancing the understanding and preservation of visual arts locally and throughout the world.” (J. Paul Getty Trust 2007 Report, 48) The Foundation, which complements and extends the work of all the Getty programs, provides financial support to numerous ground-breaking projects. In addition it promotes arts locally by providing premeditated grants and programs; the Foundation reinforces art history as a global discipline, promotes the interdisciplinary practice of conservation, increases access to museum and archival collections and develops current and future leaders in the visual arts (48). In general, the Getty Foundation has continued to act as a vehicle in advancing the understanding and preservation of the visual arts by providing seed money that might not otherwise be available from conventional funding sources. The Foundation dynamically seeks projects in L.A and around the world that generate fresh interpretations in art history, access to museum and archival collections and models for preserving artistic heritage.The Getty Research Institute

The Getty Research Institute has always been dedicated to furthering knowledge and advancing understanding of the visual arts. Its Research Library harbors special collections of rare materials and digital resources that serve both the international community of scholars and the interested public. Among its missions is the creation and dissemination of “new knowledge through its expertise, its active collecting program, public programs, institutional collaborations, exhibitions, publications, digital services and residential scholars program.” (About the Research Institute, ¶1-2).For nearly two decades, the GRI projects and activities have been devoted to strengthening the presence, quality and accessibility of art and cultural information via computer technology. According to a report in the New York Times, plans were underway to provide free entrance and access to its vast resources (Wyatt, ¶3). With the era of networking technology, GRI primary purpose has been to promote the concept of digital libraries and the collaborative development of standards, tools and guidelines required to build and link digital art resources for easiness of access internationally. This has been enhanced by the increased use of Internet as a universal medium of communication. Volumes of informative materials such as cultural heritage information in the form of texts, sound and images have been digitized and sited on the Web. This has eased access to information about our culture and heritage (Fink, ¶2). Through the promotion of well-designed structures and vocabulary tools, students and researchers all over Los Angeles have been able to search an enormous variety of the world’s electronic databases of texts and images as if they were one. GRI has continued to occupy a strategically beneficial position locally and internationally though the provision of Library science, art history, museum studies, database design, computer networking and multimedia (Fink, ¶2). For example, the GRI have been spending average of $1 million per year in financing various forms of databases to facilitate accessibility of its resources (Wada, ¶4).GRI implements various education programs with an expansive variety of audiences both at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa. Its main focus has been on object-based knowledge, using works of art in both the Getty collection and in temporary exhibitions. For example, according to the Paul Getty Trust 2007 Report, 114,645 students visited the GRI with their teachers and more than $210,000 was spent on bus transportation subsidies to bring students from underserved schools in Los Angeles to the Museum. Furthermore, 212,858 adults took advantage of daily gallery talks and architectural and garden tours (16). GRI believes that research forms the crucial basis for the most successful public projects. This has enabled to continue inspiring and supporting new research while also connecting scholars around the world. The cooperation between the foundation and Getty research institute has helped Los Angeles institutions in describing “the avant-garde art in Southern California in the post-World War II decades” (J. Paul Getty Trust 2007 Report, 49). As reported in the Pacific Standard Time release in 2008, the Getty foundation announced a “series of 15 grants totaling nearly $2.8 million that will launch an unprecedented series of concurrent exhibitions at museums throughout Southern California highlighting the post-World War II Los Angeles art scene” (Melissa, ¶1) with the first phase of the initiative providing support to museums, universities and libraries. A research done in collaboration with Getty on “The future of Arts Leadership” has opened a chance to current and future leaders in the visual arts. Through the program, “over 2,000 students have been trained at nearly 140 museums and visual arts organizations throughout Los Angeles County” (J. Paul Getty Trust 2007 Report, 53). Employment and Internships As reported in the Los Angeles Times, nearly 1,400 people are employed in the J. Paul Getty trust programs. This has created job opportunities to Los Angeles residents (Wood, ¶2). In addition GRI offers full-time, year-long internships for graduate students who plan to pursue careers committed to the management of collections and cultural heritage. This is facilitated through its involvement in the Getty Graduate Internship Program. Those offered with internships are mainly involved in “. . . science, field project work, education and dissemination of information (J. Paul Getty Trust 2007 Report, 39).“On average over 80% of our annual budget is spent in Los Angeles” (Wood). Over the past years, GRI together with the other programs have adopted an investment “policy like that of many foundations, emphasized investments in illiquid assets like real estate, private equity and hedge funds.”(Wyatt, ¶5)The Getty research institute has managed to shape, affect and influence the identity of Los Angeles. In his memo as reported in the Los Angeles Times, Woods clearly admits that GRI “is a unique undertaking that I believe makes a contribution as important to Los Angeles” (Woods, ¶8). From its inception into the region, and through its activities and detailed programs there is no doubt that GRI has greatly benefited Los Angeles. These benefits include creation of employment and internship programs to graduates, improvement of education through various scholarships and grants, promotion of tourism by continually harboring a vast collection of historical artifacts and visual arts. In addition, it has enhanced a culture of research among academicians and scholars by facilitating easier access to visual arts, aided in development through various development projects. The GRI has nurtured an investment culture by initiating investment projects.

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