Jacob's Pillow season ends on strong note; dance festival begins year-round online access to archives


BECKET — Jacob's Pillow hosted a record-breaking 108,000 visitor experiences throughout the summer, including ticketed performances, free performances, free talks, tours, dance classes, film screenings, exhibits, and various other community events.

According to Pillow officials, in addition to landmark attendance at these events, ticket revenue totaled more than $2.3 million, exceeding the highest budget goal total to date.

Attendance at the Pillow's newly-expanded community programming increased 35% with more than 3,400 community members participating in the Pillow's annual Community Day and ongoing Community Classes throughout the summer. The recently renovated Blake's Barn, home to the Pillow's extensive dance Archives, hosted more than 23,000 visitor experiences — a 55% increase from Festival 2015's record-breaking season — through visits to the exhibits and the Norton Owen Reading Room, as well as the free PillowTalk series.

Following the record-breaking success of Festival 2016 and the increased demand for its resources, after 20 years of public access solely during the Festival (and by appointment throughout the year), the Pillow archives are now available year-round through a new user-friendly site — archives.jacobspillow.org.

"We are thrilled to share the success of Festival 2016, and are now working on programming and community engagement for 2017," says Jacob's Pillow Director Pamela Tatge in a news release. "Now, more than ever before, we see a thirst for increased access across Jacob's Pillow programming, both on our physical site and beyond."

Among the features of the new site is a complete set of digitized programs from throughout the Pillow's 84-season history. These documents include everything from the first performance in the Ted Shawn Theatre (a 1942 premiere by Agnes deMille) to this past season's programs including commissioned essays from Pillow Scholars-in-Residence.

Thousands of digitized photos are now available including 1930s snapshots of Ted Shawn's Men Dancers, many previously-unseen portraits of Pillow artists, and recent performance shots by Festival Photographer Christopher Duggan. The site includes catalog records for nearly 7000 videos in the Archives, hundreds of which are linked to online highlights that are instantly viewable through Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive. In addition to these features, any dancer who has ever performed at Jacob's Pillow, including thousands of former students, may also be searched by name.

The new site utilizes the same open-source CollectiveAccess software widely used by prominent arts organizations including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The New Museum, and National Public Radio.

The project has been made possible through a two-year Archives Advancement Initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and also incorporates digitization work supported by Save America's Treasures and the Leir Charitable Foundations in memory of Henry J. Leir and the Leir Charitable Trusts, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir.


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions