The Art Library

Contributed by Carmen Summerfield

On a recent trip to Amsterdam, I walked past a unique warehouse in the industrial area of Amsterdam Noord. The doors were open, displaying all kinds of art! So, I had to take a closer look and see what this art was all about…

The warehouse belongs to the SBK, short for Stichting Beeldende Kunst (Foundation for Visual Arts). It’s a sort of “art library.” The SBK has a vast and unique collection of modern art, consisting of original works of art reflecting the various movements and periods within the Dutch history of art, ranging from oil paintings from the 1950s to works by talented contemporary photographers. The SBK stocks work by professional artists living and working in the Netherlands.

The SBK was founded in 1955 by the Dutch artist Pieter Kooistra. His idealistic pursuit was to make art accessible to everyone. He used to ride through the neighborhoods of Amsterdam on a delivery bike stacked with works of art from his friends, spreading them around to promote art.

The SBK believes that art does not always belong in a museum and that it ought to be an integral part of life, whether it be in one’s home, in public spaces or working environment.

The SBK’s aim is to offer individuals and companies the possibility to rent or purchase a variety of original contemporary works of art at reasonable and affordable rates and also to help artists secure an independent income.

With Access to over 40,000 works of art, all of them for rent and for sale at the SBK for less than two cappuccino’s per month. The ideal way to experiment with art.

In Alaska, we have the Alaska Contemporary Art Bank, founded in 1975 by the Alaska State Council on the Arts. It was created to expose more Alaskans to high quality work by contemporary Alaskan artists through the provision of outstanding art to public offices throughout Alaska, and to provide support to professional artists in Alaska through purchase of their work.

The Alaska Contemporary Art Bank now consists of-over 700 art works in a wide variety of media, styles and subject matter. This diverse collection now provides a detailed look at the evolution of contemporary art in our isolated state, from the construction of the Alaska pipeline to the present day.

The Alaska Contemporary Art Bank is part of the Art in Public Places Program and consists of portable artwork lent for display in public spaces. Artworks are loaned to state offices throughout Alaska, including the Alaska Congressional delegation offices in Washington, D.C.

For more information on this program, please contact the Alaska State Council on the Arts at 161 Klevin Street, Suite 102, Anchorage, AK 99508-1506. Telephone: 907-269-6610