Joan Mitchell Foundation

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Creating a Living Legacy (CALL)

Creating a Living Legacy (CALL) is a program of the Joan Mitchell Foundation that provides support to visual artists in creating, through organizing and inventorying, comprehensive documentation of their artworks and careers.

In 2007 the Joan Mitchell Foundation began exploring new ways to support mature artists in the thorough documentation and preservation of a their legacy. During the initial pilot phase of CALL, we worked in-depth with four artists in this process: Mildred Howard, Elemore Morgan, Jr., Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, and Freddy Rodriguez.

From what was learned during this in-depth work, the Foundation developed a range of tools for artists. The Joan Mitchell Foundation CALL Database was created as a method of keeping accurate records. A workbook leads artists through the basics of creating their own comprehensive organizational system in their studios and archives. The CALL Resources website allows a forum for sharing information, resources and troubleshooting.

Through the work with these four initial artists, it became apparent that many artists with established careers still need help in getting organized and implementing a studio inventory system. 

In 2010 the Foundation began working with emerging artists as Legacy Specialists, assistants trained specifically to advise and work with artists around these issues. Currently the Foundation employees a group of eleven trained Legacy Specialists who work with ten artists in New York City.

Hoping to expand the discussion nationally, in 2011 the Foundation awarded planning grants to five arts organizations across the country through an RFP process. These organizations then were all asked to develop a proposal for programs that served their constituents, used the CALL resources, and increased awareness of the importance of documenting the artwork and careers of individual artists. In 2012, four of these organizations: Artist Trust, Bronx Council on the Arts, DiverseWorks, and Space One Eleven are beginning programming locally.

For further information on the CALL program please contact Shervone Neckles-Ortiz, Artist Support Associate, at

Pilot CALL Artists
Mildred Howard
Elemore Morgan, Jr.
Jaune Quick-To-See Smith
Freddy Rodriguez

Pilot CALL Museum Model
Mel Chin

Blane de St. Croix
Lesley Dill
Gwen Fabricant
Mary Frank
John Koos
Henrietta Mantooth
Juan Sanchez
Mimi Smith

Jamie Davidovich
Arlan Huang
Mario Martinez
Kazuko Miyamoto
Otto Neals
Gladys Triana
Betty Blayton Taylor
Emmett Wigglesworth

Public CALL Resources

CALL Resources is designed to reach further into the art communities and provide a dialog and a forum of shared information for established and emerging artists about cataloging, storing, and any archival related topics regarding the artist and their work.

CALL Career Documentation Guide (PDF download, 7 MB)
A workbook created to help an artist, artist’s assistant, Legacy Specialist, family member, or friend of an artist in the process of career documentation.

CALL Estate Planning Workbook (PDF download, 1.7 MB)
A guide designed to be a practical tool for artists and/or their supporters to use when carefully assessing and identifying the unique estate planning needs and concerns specific to the visual arts.