In its early years the Rubin Foundation took an active role in incubating several projects. These reflected the wide interests of the Rubin family, from their love of art and their desire to preserve the artistic record of the Labor
movement, to their concern with health care policy and Alzheimer’s disease. The Rubin Foundation has long had an interest in the use of technology to advance cultural and social causes.
Music & Memory
Music & Memory has been one of the Foundation’s greatest and most widely recognized achievements, reflecting our concern for therapeutic alternatives for the elderly and others who suffer from Alzheimer’s, other forms of dementia, and other ailments. Music & Memory provides patients with personally programmed iPods containing significant music from their own lives, which has shown to be effective in improving memory, mental functioning, and overall quality of life. In order to
increase awareness of the effect of personalized music on the lives of the elderly and infirm, we provided major support for the documentary “Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory,” winner of the 2014 Sundance Audience Award for Best Documentary. The film chronicles the work of Music & Memory and provides a platform for public education about the amazing potential of personalized music as a standard of care in our health system.
LaborArts uses visual images to encourage exposure to, as well as understanding and appreciation of, the overlooked contributions working people make to our society. Primarily an online museum, with exhibits on topics ranging from art in W.E.B. DuBois’ Crisis Magazine to “Defending the Social Safety Net,” the site’s searchable collections include images of posters, buttons, banners, flyers, painting, sculpture and photographs — art and artifacts by and about working people.
LaborArts was founded in 2000 by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, Archives/Tamiment Library at NYU, and Bread and Roses, the cultural arm of the hospital workers union 1199/SEIU. Outreach efforts include the Clara Lemlich Awards for Social Activism honoring unsung heroines and the “Making Work Visible” contest, targeted to the 350,000 undergraduate students in the CUNY system. LaborArts welcomes collaboration opportunities with all educators.
Himalayan Art Resources
Himalayan Art Resources (HAR) is a comprehensive online education and research database, in essence a virtual museum. The website exhibits images of art from museum, university, and private collections throughout the world, documenting all Himalayan style art objects that are known through past or present collections or publications. As of 2014, there are over 65,000 images displayed and described. HAR is the premier tool for curators, scholars and educators working in Himalayan Art,
contributing an ever-expanding body of original research, analysis, and explanation of the international community’s vast collection of art. HAR staff assists museums and collectors in identifying and analyzing content and styles, dates individual works, and situates each in the larger context of Himalayan art history. Its unparalleled database also allows it to reunite multi-painting and multi-sculpture sets that have become separated and dispersed around the world.
Treasury of Lives
The Treasury of Lives is an online biographical ecyclopedia of Tibet, Inner Asia and the Himalayan region. As of June 2015 the expanding site contains just over 1,000 biographies, written by a growing community of scholars from North America, Asia and Europe, many of them peer-reviewed. These biographies, complete with the most extensive bibliographies available, are intended as a resource to both the general public and researchers in the field. Each biography is illustrated with relevant art from the Rubin Museum of Art and other esteemed collections, with
links to Himalayan Art Resources (www.himalayanart.org) and the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (www.tbrc.org). The highly navigable interface, which includes an interactive map of Asia and timelines for each institution and religious tradition, allows visitors to search figures by historical period, geography, monastery, clan or religious affiliation. With an active online presence and a growing online community, these biographies are reaching approximately 5,000 users every month.
Circopedia is dedicated to that art and history of the circus, serving as an online archive of circuses everywhere. The Rubin Foundation initiated the project in 2007, and gave it to the Big Apple Circus. Dominique Jando, a leading circus historian founded Circopedia. He and his staff generate, locate, and upload content, which includes new material as well as archival footage and documents. Content comes from the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art in
Sarasota, the Ringling Museum, Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and elsewhere. Circopedia is providing casual fans a greater understanding of the depth and breadth of the classical circus arts, as a complement to the Big Apple Circus’ mission to promote this unique form of human expression.