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New Media/New Century Award Established for Online Landscape Project

Contact: Smithsonian American Art Museum's Public Affairs Office AmericanArtinfo[at]
American Art's Web site:
Recorded information: (202) 633-8998

The Smithsonian American Art Museum announces the establishment of the New Media/New Century Award in support of new art created for the Web. This award is made possible by Dominion, an energy company headquartered in Richmond, Va., as part of an ongoing partnership with the Smithsonian American Art Museum. This partnership is dedicated to supporting photography that examines the American landscape. Up to three projects will be awarded grants of $4,000 each.

"We are thrilled Dominion chose to continue its support of our photography and new media programs by sponsoring the New Century/New Media Award," said Elizabeth Broun, the Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The museum is accepting proposals for original Web-based projects that explore the subject of the American landscape through Oct. 2, 2000. Projects will be considered for their potential to bring new insight to the subject of landscape as online art works. Entry guidelines are available at Winners will be announced by Nov. 1, 2000.

Through the New Media/New Century Award, the museum is commissioning projects that explore how the new medium of Web art affects the American landscape as a subject. Artists working in landscape who are interested in this new medium and emerging artists are encouraged to apply.

"Now through the Internet, we look forward to bringing the face of America to a global audience, through these superb photographic images," said James C. Mesloh, executive director of the Dominion .Foundation.

"Landscape has been the touchstone of American art for more than 200 years," said Merry A. Foresta, senior curator of photography at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. "When photography was invented in 1839, this new medium revolutionized the way we knew and understood the landscape. Today, new media are again transforming the way artists look at the land, as technology encourages new collaborations and interactions with audiences."

For more than 10 years the Smithsonian American Art Museum has enjoyed the support of the Consolidated Natural Gas Company, which merged with Dominion this year. In 1987, the company's gift enabled the museum to acquire more than 300 photographs, creating the Contemporary Landscape Photography Collection. Based on this collection, the museum was able to organize the 1992 exhibition "Between Home and Heaven: Contemporary American Landscape Photography." In 1996, the museum and the Dominion Foundation's predecessor, the CNG Foundation, entered into a landmark public-private partnership dedicated to preserving America's heritage through photography. Helios, the museum's Web site for American photography, was made possible through this partnership and launched in October 1996.

Jurors for the first New Media/New Century Award are Steve Dietz, director of New Media Initiatives at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minn.; and Jim Sheldon, associate professor of New Media at Emerson College in Boston, Mass.

Winning entries will be posted on Helios in early 2001 through the museum's award-winning Web site Helios is named for the mythological sun god and is an early term for photographic art.

Dominion is the nation's largest fully integrated natural gas and electricity company. For information about Dominion, contact Daniel Donovan, media relations manager at (412) 690-1370.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum collection began with gifts of art donated to the federal government in 1829 and has evolved into the world's most important American art holdings with approximately 38,000 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings, photographs, folk-art objects, and .contemporary crafts.

While the Old Patent Office Building, home to the museum, is undergoing a 3-year renovation, the museum is continuing a full program of craft exhibitions at its Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street, N.W.). For information about Renwick Gallery activities, call (202) 357-2700. Please visit the museum's award-winning Web site at